Fairfax County police are on the lookout for a man who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash on Fairfax County Parkway in Reston.
Officers are currently on the scene at the Walnut Branch Road intersection, the Fairfax County Police Department reported at 8:41 p.m. today (Wednesday).
The crash apparently involved two vehicles. One driver was taken to the hospital, where he ultimately died. The driver of the other car that police say instigated the encounter left the scene on foot.
Police describe the driver as a “heavy” Hispanic man with long hair who was wearing a black shirt.
Officers on scene of a fatal hit & run crash on FFX County Pkwy at Walnut Branch Rd, Reston. One person, driver, taken to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Driver of striking car ran from scene on foot. Officers searching for Hispanic man, heavy, blk shirt, long hair. pic.twitter.com/qyFHv7E9ER
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) September 2, 2021
MOD Pizza is about to get some competition in Herndon.
The Tysons-based Crust Pizzeria Napoletana is adding a second location at 360 Elden Street in Herndon Centre, just across the parking lot from the fast-casual pizza chain’s Herndon franchise, which opened last year.
Construction on the space, which is listed as 2,400 square feet in size by the shopping center, has been underway for a couple of months now, Crust Pizzeria owner Kevin Ejitemai told Reston Now earlier this week.
Adjacent to a Popeyes, the new pizza eatery has taken over the site previously occupied by the family-owned restaurant Italian District, which was a casualty of the economic challenges introduced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ejitemai.
Italian District has been reported closed on Yelp, whose last review for the restaurant is dated July 14, 2020.
Crust Pizzeria Napoletana opened off of Old Courthouse Road on the Vienna side of Tysons in 2015. It prides itself on being “the only authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the area” and features a wood-fired oven that was handcrafted in Naples, Italy, according to the website.
For the restaurant’s first expansion, Ejitemai says he wanted to stay within Northern Virginia to maintain some proximity to the existing location. Herndon seemed like an ideal place to attract both residential and commercial customers.
“Herndon is an up-and-coming area,” Ejitemai said. “There’s a lot of technology firms around that could give us good lunch [business], and then a lot of homes around for dinner.”
The Herndon location will have a menu identical to the one in Tysons, which offers small plates, salads, pasta, and sandwiches, along with the signature 12-inch-wide pizzas.
It will also boast a wood-burning oven imported from Italy. Ejitemai says the oven and the ingredients that Crust Pizzeria uses — including double zero flour for the dough, bufala mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes — are what distinguish it from other pizza makers.
“[The oven] will be showcased inside of the store burning wood, so it’s not just having food. It’s an experience in our restaurant,” he said, describing the softness of the pizza dough as “like silk cloth in your mouth.”
According to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority, Crust Pizzeria has applied for a retail license so it can sell wine and beer on the premises. The license has been pending since July 28.
Ejitemai says he hopes to open the Herndon pizzeria before Christmas, though the exact date is “a moving target” with work to revamp the site ongoing.
Photo via Google Maps
Updated at 2 p.m. — Reston Association has closed all of its pools for the remainder of the day “due to “due to the current and continued threat of hazardous weather.”
Updated at 12:10 p.m. — A Tornado Watch has been issued for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, until 7 p.m.
Updated at 11:30 a.m. — All activities scheduled to take place in Fairfax County Public Schools this afternoon and evening have been canceled due to the anticipated inclement weather.
Updated at 10:25 a.m. — All of the closed roads in Reston have reopened to traffic, except for the Browns Mill, Beach Mill, and Leigh Mill closures listed below, according to a 10:13 a.m. update from the Fairfax County Police Department.
Earlier: Several roads in Reston have been closed after a thunderstorm courtesy of Tropical Depression Ida passed through Fairfax County overnight.
“We are expecting several inches of rain today from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, picking up in intensity in the early afternoon until around midnight,” Fairfax County said in a post on its emergency information blog. “We have already experienced an early morning storm that has led to power outages, swift water rescues and numerous road closures due to downed trees and flooded roads.”
Road closures due to flooding and downed trees have been reported throughout the county, but as of 8:30 a.m., they have been particularly concentrated in the Reston District Station area, according to the Fairfax County Police Department:
Reston District Station
Browns Mill Rd and Pennycress Ln, closed due to down tree
Beach Mill Rd and Clubview Dr, closed due to downed tree
Hunter Mill Rd and Cedar Pond Dr, closed due to flooding
500 bock of River Bend Rd, closed due to flooding
1100 block of Springvale Rd, closed due to flooding
Leigh Mill Rd and Kelso Rd, closed due to flooding
Walker Rd and Murphy Dr, closed due to downed tree
Hunter Mill Rd and Cedar Pond Dr, closed due to flooding
With more rain expected to fall today, the National Weather Service has extended a Flood Warning for northwestern Fairfax County until 11:30 a.m., citing Reston, Herndon, and Great Falls among the areas that could experience flooding.
“At 8:20 a.m. EDT, stream gauge reports indicated water levels continue to rise across the area. Flooding is ongoing,” the NWS said in its alert.
A Flash Flood Watch is also now in effect for much of the D.C. region, including Fairfax County. It is currently set to last through tomorrow (Thursday) morning:
* A round of heavy thunderstorms early this morning may result in localized flash flooding, especially in the Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan Areas. Additional thunderstorms with heavy rainfall are expected across the area this afternoon and evening. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected, with localized amounts up to 6 inches possible.
* This amount of heavy rainfall will not only result in the potential for considerable flash flooding of creeks, small streams, and urban areas, but also the potential for river flooding on the main stem rivers.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is urging people to avoid driving through flooded or closed roadways, noting that stalled and trapped cars put the driver, passengers, and first responders in unnecessary danger.
“By now, many drivers across Fairfax County know which roads traditionally flood,” the department wrote in a blog post. “FCFRD asks that if you need to be on the roadways today that you stay informed and plan alternate routes around flooded roadways. Our firefighters and paramedics do not want to meet you by (a preventable) ‘accident’!”
A lot of rain throughout today. Several flooded roadways already this morning. PLEASE, do NOT attempt to drive, or walk, through flooded roadways! #TurnAroundDontDrown! Stay weather aware throughout the day! Plan alternate routes! #weather #traffic #FCFRD pic.twitter.com/SmZWO7bvoc
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) September 1, 2021
Flash Flood Watch in Effect for Ida — The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch and Hazardous Weather Outlook for Fairfax County that will be in effect today (Wednesday) through tomorrow morning, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass over the region. The county advises avoiding flooded streets, moving valuables from basements, and making sure storm drains and gutters aren’t clogged. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Alcorn Denies County/Golf Course Development Deal — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn told the citizens’ advocacy group Rescue Reston that Fairfax County is not aware of any deals to redevelop one of Reston’s two golf courses. A Rescue Reston board member said his group had been told a development deal was “in the works with the county,” which Alcorn denied. [Patch]
Eagerness and Uncertainty Mix in High School Football’s Return to Reston — “By 6 p.m. Friday, the only remaining evidence of that afternoon’s thunder and rain were shallow puddles dotting the back parking lot at South Lakes High School in Reston…It was time for a football game. This matchup between the Seahawks and Robinson was one of about 50 games played across the D.C. area last weekend — the official return of fall football.” [The Washington Post]
RA Announces Labor Day Weekend Pool Schedule — The North Shore, Ridge Heights, Lake Newport, and Glade pools will all be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 4-5) and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 6). While the summer pool season is coming to a close, the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open through Sept. 19. [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Ida to Bring More Rainy Weather — “The remnants of what is now tropical storm Ida could dump up to 6 inches of rain to parts of northern Virginia and the District of Columbia early Wednesday into Thursday morning…In addition to heavy rain, the storm could bring tornadoes and flash flooding.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Gets New Leadership Team Member — “Brian J. Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department, started a new chapter today as the Fairfax County Police Department’s executive deputy police chief. In this new role, Reilly is responsible for the coordination of FCPD’s crime control strategies, policy and legislative initiatives and the implementation of a new data and evidence-based policing strategy that prioritizes community interaction with police officers throughout Fairfax County.” [FCPD]
Local Afghan Restaurant Donates Meals to Refugees — Kabobi by The Helmand, an Afghan fusion restaurant that opened in Dulles Station in 2019, is working with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to provide home-cooked meals to refugees who have come to the U.S. after the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s government earlier this month. Anyone interested in volunteering can send a direct message to the restaurant to assist with packaging. [Kabobi/Instagram]
Friends of Reston to Hold 5K This Fall — “The inaugural Friends of Reston Fall 5K is coming soon! This video highlights the many ways you, your friends, family, co-workers, and business can get involved, and help support the Reston Youth and Enrichment Fund.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
After hovering in the “substantial” category throughout August, Fairfax County is officially seeing high levels of COVID-19 spread within the community, putting it in line with almost all of Virginia.
The county went from orange to red when the Virginia Department of Health updated its dashboard this morning (Monday) for the week of Aug. 22-28. Manassas Park is now the only locality in the state not reporting high community transmission, a dot of “moderate” yellow amid a sea of crimson.
The Fairfax County Health Department attributes the continued rise in virus cases to the prevalence of the Delta variant, which spreads more easily between people than previous strains and is now the most common strain in Northern Virginia.
“We continue to do all we can to educate, vaccinate, and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said in a statement. “…The level of community transmission in Northern Virginia — and the rest of the Commonwealth — is now classified as “High”, emphasizing the importance of prevention wherever we live, work, play and learn. We urge everyone to continue to be vigilant about layered prevention strategies and for all those who are eligible to receive vaccination to do so.”
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s metrics, VDH determines the level of community transmission based on the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 persons and the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive over the last seven days.
While Fairfax County’s weekly testing positivity rate actually dropped from 6.2% during the week of Aug. 15-21 to 5.1% this past week, which would still be considered moderate transmission, the number of new cases per 100,000 people jumped from 99.2 to 109.5 over that same time frame, putting the county over the 100-case threshold for high transmission.
With one day left in the month, the Fairfax Health District has reported fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases in a day just twice in August. Another 116 cases came in today, bringing the weekly average up to 182.6 cases — the highest mark since April 14, when the county averaged 184.3 daily new cases over the previous seven days.
The district, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church as well as Fairfax County, has now recorded a total of 83,902 COVID-19 cases over the course of the pandemic. 4,253 residents have been hospitalized with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 1,164 residents have died, including eight since last Monday (Aug. 23).
According to the VDH, the vast majority of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths statewide continue to occur in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, who have contracted COVID-19 at 13.3 and 2.6 times the rate of their fully vaccinated counterparts, respectively.
The Fairfax Health District has administered a total of 1.46 million vaccine doses so far, though the federal government’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23 doesn’t appear to have spurred a sudden uptick in demand.
787,408 residents — or 66.5% of the district’s total population, including 78.7% of people 18 and older — have now gotten at least one shot, according to the Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine dashboard. 6,369 more people joined the club over the past week, roughly on par with the 6,257 people who got their first inoculation in the week before that.
712,389 residents are fully vaccinated, which amounts to 71.6% of adults and 60.2% of the overall population.
Photo via CDC on Unsplash
(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) All high school students will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in school sports, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced this morning (Monday).
The requirement will apply to students who plan to get involved in Virginia High School League winter and spring sports this school year, along with activities like dance team and out-of-season workouts that require a physical, but it will take effect on Nov. 8, prior to the postseason for fall sports like football and field hockey.
An FCPS spokesperson says the Nov. 8 date was chosen, because that’s when the school system will start having indoor sports.
“As FCPS students return to our school buildings, our priority must be on our academic programming,” the spokesperson said. “Our data is showing that a significant number of our cases stem from athletics and a disproportionate number of students are having their learning impacted. Therefore, we have made the decision to mandate vaccinations for students who wish to partake in a number of close contact athletic disciplines. By taking this step, we hope to limit the number of students who are being instructed to remain out of school buildings.”
The announcement comes one week after FCPS started its 2021-2022 academic year and 10 days after the district issued a vaccination mandate for employees that’s expected to take effect in October.
As recently as last Tuesday (Aug. 24), school officials had expressed uncertainty about the legality of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students.
“As I understand it, that’s not something we’re able to do yet in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Brabrand said at a school board work session. “…I do think, just like the staff vaccination mandate, we need to, as this pandemic evolves, continue to go back and return to these kinds of issues that can really help make our schools safe for in-person instruction now and forever.”
Mount Vernon District School Board Representative Karen Corbett-Sanders, who served on a state task force that looked at the issue, confirmed that Virginia law requires any vaccination requirements for students come from the Virginia Department of Health, which would refer the mandate to the General Assembly.
“The legislature is not meeting again until January, but this may be an area where this board, as we look at our legislative priorities, would urge that,” Corbett-Sanders said.
However, in that same meeting, some board members raised concerns about students missing class time due to sports-related COVID-19 cases and the amount of time that health officials needed to conduct contact tracing, since there was no system in place to quickly determine who had already been vaccinated.
FCPS says vaccinations can be mandated for student athletes without state approval, because sports aren’t required activities and students don’t earn grades or credit for participating in them.
According to the FCPS case dashboard, 234 people, including 164 students and 69 staff members, have reported testing positive for COVID-19 to the school system this month as of Friday (Aug. 27).
Most cases appear to be occurring in elementary schools, but Brabrand says the majority of instances where high school students need to pause instruction have been the result of exposure during athletic activities.
“While we know this is a difficult decision for some families, it is an essential step that we must take to limit the duration of a pause, getting students back to the classroom and their activities sooner, but still safely,” Brabrand said, noting that FCPS will work with the Fairfax County Health Department to ensure students have access to the vaccine before the mandate takes effect.
Brabrand’s full message to the FCPS community can be found below: Read More
Thousands of Afghan Refugees Arrive At Dulles — About 14,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover on Aug. 15 have arrived in Virginia through Dulles International Airport, according to Gov. Ralph Northam, who called the effort “one of the largest airlifts in history” on Friday (Aug. 27). The federal government has set up a COVID-19 vaccination site for the new arrivals, just 20 of whom have tested positive so far. [WTOP]
New Survey on Countywide Strategic Plan Opens — Fairfax County is seeking more community input on its proposed Countywide Strategic Plan, which will serve as a guide for the county’s priorities over the next 10 to 20 years. A fourth community survey is now available in multiple languages until Sept. 24, with the Board of Supervisors expected to take action on a final plan in October. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
Man Arrested for South Lakes BB&T Robbery — A man believe to be behind the Tuesday morning robbery of the BB&T Bank in South Lakes Village Shopping Center was arrested in Richmond, according to the weekly crime report. The suspect was arrested on Thursday (Aug. 26) on unrelated charges but now also faces two counts of robbery. He is awaiting extradition to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Recruit Two New Canines — Bloodhound pups Duke and Luna will soon start a year-long training program to prepare them to join the Fairfax County Police Department’s K-9 unit, which currently consists of 28 dogs, including three other bloodhounds, and 15 human officers. The dogs will help the department find “critically missing people,” including people with dementia, children, and individuals who might be suicidal. [The Washington Post]
Reston Association to Hold Listening Sessions Next Month — “Reston Association will be hosting a series of Listening Sessions, one for each district, over the coming weeks on Zoom. These meetings will allow the Board to engage with each district and listen to the concerns, comments, and suggestions members have for RA.” [RA/Twitter]
Before we head into another weekend of COVID-19 concerns, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on the site in recent days.
- UPDATED: Man hospitalized after stabbing in Herndon as police search for suspect
- BREAKING: Recall effort against school board member Elaine Tholen dismissed in court
- Heavy rain makes roads treacherous with Area Flood Warning in effect for Fairfax County
- JUST IN: Fairfax County announces COVID-19 vaccine mandate for government workers
- Red Velvet Bakery and Little Beast Bistro start taking shape at Reston Town Center West
If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. Photos from around the Reston and Herndon area are also welcome, with credit always given to the photographer.
Feel free to discuss these topics, your socially distanced weekend plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.
A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.
The alert will take effect at 1 p.m. and is currently set to expire at 11 p.m., as the National Weather Service says “numerous showers and thunderstorms” are expected to pass through the region this afternoon and evening.
While just up to an inch of rain is projected to fall on average, the thunderstorms could bring heavy rainfall within a short period of time to localized areas, potentially leading streams and creeks to flood.
Here is the full NWS alert:
…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
* Flash Flood Watch for portions of DC, central Maryland and northern Virginia, including the following areas: in DC, District of Columbia. In central Maryland, Central and Southeast Howard, Central and Southeast Montgomery and Prince Georges. In northern Virginia, Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria and Fairfax.
* From 1 PM EDT this afternoon through this evening.
* Numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and evening. Average rainfall amounts are expected to be between one half to one inch. However, thunderstorms will be capable of
producing very heavy rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour, causing localized amounts of 2 to 4 inches possible. While storms are possible any time this afternoon through this evening, the most widespread thunderstorm activity is most likely to be late this afternoon through early this evening.
* Heavy rainfall amounts in a short period of time may result in rapid rises on streams and creeks as well as the potential for flash flooding in urban areas.
You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.
[8/27 at 8:41 AM] A Flash Flood Watch is in effect today from 1 PM to 11 PM. Numerous showers & t'storms are expected during this time. Heavy rainfall amounts in a short period of time may result in rapid rises on streams & creeks as well as cause flash flooding on roads. #VaWx pic.twitter.com/BYIlGyn8ft
— Ready Fairfax (@ReadyFairfax) August 27, 2021
NoVA Child Dies From COVID-19 — “Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that a child in the Northern Region with COVID-19 has died. VDH will disclose no further information about the child to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family. This is the first reported death of a child in the Northern Region with COVID-19 in Virginia.” [VDH]
Fairfax County Task Force Returns From Haiti — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responders who deployed to Haiti as part of the Virginia Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue team came home on Wednesday (Aug. 25). The 65-member task force landed at Dulles International Airport after 11 days of supporting the disaster response to the Aug. 14 earthquake that devastated the island nation. [WTOP]
Charges Anticipated in Herndon Stabbing — As of 5:45 p.m. yesterday (Thursday), the suspect in a stabbing that occured that morning in the 1000 block of Elden Street in Herndon had not yet been apprehended, but a police department spokesperson said they “do not believe he poses an immediate danger to our community.” Charges are expected to be filed in the case today (Friday). [Patch]
FCPS Sees Decline in Test Participation — “Fairfax County and Virginia schools as a whole saw declining participation in the spring 2021 Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. At Fairfax County Public Schools, participation rates fell by an average 20 percent in reading, mathematics, and science. Around 50,000 tests were refused this year, compared to over 500 in 2018-19.” [Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A Reston man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for a bank fraud and identity theft scheme where he created fake COVID-19 stimulus checks, the Department of Justice announced yesterday (Wednesday).
Jonathan Drew, 39, was sentenced in federal court in Alexandria yesterday by Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. His 70-month prison sentence is significantly less than the maximum of 32 years that he faced for charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
He pleaded guilty to the charges on April 14.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh announced the sentencing. He was joined by Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis, Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, and Daniel A. Adame, the inspector in charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division.
“In addition to causing financial harm to the individuals from whom he stole checks and credit cards, the defendant’s sweeping criminal conduct also inflicted emotional harm and distress to his identity theft victims,” Parekh said in a statement. “As this case demonstrates, we are determined to hold accountable those who seek to illegally enrich themselves by defrauding and stealing from our residents.”
According to the DOJ news release, Drew stole the identities of more than 150 people between December 2019 and August 2020:
According to court documents, between approximately December 2019 and August 2020, Jonathan Drew, 39, stole U.S. mail addressed to more than 150 individuals in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. The mail Drew stole included bank statements, credit cards, credit card statements, W-2 forms, and more than $700,000 in checks, including a COVID-19 stimulus payment and checks Drew used to create counterfeit checks.
According to court documents, Drew used the stolen stimulus check to create counterfeit stimulus checks ranging from $1,200 to $2,400, and he negotiated his own authentically issued stimulus check twice. Drew also used the personally identifiable information of several individuals without authorization to lease an apartment; open bank accounts; and attempt to conduct fraudulent transactions through counterfeit checks, forged checks, unauthorized use of credit cards, and wire transfers.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Olivia Zhu and Roberta O. Roberts, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell L. Carlberg.
Attorney General Merrick Garland established a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force with the Department of Justice and other government agencies on May 17 to investigate and prosecute crimes related to the pandemic and the various relief programs created to address its economic impact.
The DOJ says people can stay alert for fraud involving COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, unemployment benefits, and taxes by not responding to unsolicited phone calls or emails and avoiding sharing personal or health information with anyone other than trusted medical professionals.
Anyone who thinks they might be a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the DOJ National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or submitting a National Center for Disaster Fraud complaint form.
Photo via Google Maps
The first day of school is always a nerve-wracking affair, but the stakes felt especially high on Monday (Aug. 23), when Fairfax County Public Schools brought back roughly 180,000 students after more than a year of mostly virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the return to school unfolded relatively smoothly, students, staff, and parents raised a multitude of concerns as well, primarily around transportation and the lack of distancing and masks in cafeterias, Fairfax County School Board members said during a work session on Tuesday (Aug. 24).
The transportation challenges were largely expected, as FCPS advised families last week that a school bus driver shortage would lead to delays. In a presentation to the board, Superintendent Scott Brabrand reported that the district had filled 86.4% of its 1,121 bus driver positions as of Monday, leaving 152 vacancies.
Still, the advance warning didn’t make the delays less frustrating for students and their parents.
“[Parents] want to know how long is it going to take for their children to come in, and [there were] also lots of concerns with students who were left outside to wait for their buses, and they don’t know how long,” Mason District Representative Ricardy Anderson said. “Is it 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 45? When we have the heat we had yesterday and rain that’s going to come, because let’s be clear, this transportation issue is not going to be resolved any time soon.”
According to an FCPS spokesperson, the Langley area has been hit hardest by the shortage, though the school system was unable to provide data on exactly how many students have been affected by bus delays.
Noting that the school system has 20 “double-back” routes this year, compared to just eight last year, FCPS Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Transportation Services Jeff Platenberg told the board that delays were reduced by 40% from Monday morning to Tuesday.
Even on Tuesday morning, however, late runs to Langley High School, Spring Hill Elementary, and Longfellow Middle School were all an hour off of their schedules.
“We know everybody is anxious about it, including us,” Platenberg said. “We’re excited about this start for the school year. We have some extreme challenges with this bus driver shortage, but we are working with our communities.”
He added that kiss-and-ride lines at schools were “jammed” on Monday and Tuesday, calling it “a healthy problem to have” since the crowds indicated that parents were heeding FCPS’ advice to drive or walk their children to school if possible.
One parent who asked to not be identified described the kiss-and-ride experience at her son’s elementary school as “absolute pandemonium,” with supervising staff seemingly scrambling to figure out where students were supposed to go.
In one case, a 4-year-old girl ended up on a shuttle to an after-school program that she doesn’t attend, leading her parents to post on social media that she was missing.
“I’m not trying to disparage the teachers who are clearly out there doing the best that they can, but from a system standpoint,” the parent said on Tuesday. “Yesterday and today were very, very hot days to just sit there for 30 minutes with no shade. What if it’s a pouring rainy day? What is your system? There has to be a better way to think through this.” Read More
COVID-19 Vaccine Recommended for Pregnant People — “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years and older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or would like to get pregnant. The rise in COVID-19 cases, low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness during pregnancy make vaccination more urgent than ever.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Local Cycling Studio Announces Vaccine Requirement — Starting Sept. 1, New Trail Cycling in Lake Anne Plaza will require patrons to provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to take an indoor class. Owner Liz Camp says she’s not aware of any other businesses in the Reston and Herndon area with a similar policy but felt it’s a necessary extra step to keep people safe and healthy as cases rise. [New Trail Cycling]
Police Union Supports Eliminating Ticket-Writing Quotas — The Virginia Police Benevolent Association, which represents 750 state troopers, says it’s working with the General Assembly on a law that would prohibit law enforcement agencies from imposing quotas on officers, saying that approach is outdated and leads to more negative interactions with the public. Virginia State Police officials deny using quotas, but emails suggest troopers are evaluated in part by how many tickets they write. [WTOP]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Herndon Police Believe Sexual Assault Suspect Had More Victims — Detectives with the Herndon Police Department believe other people may have been victimized by a man they charged with aggravated sexual battery on June 30, according to a tweet. At the time of his arrest, the victim in the case told police that Carlos Morales López, 55, gave her a massage in the 800 block of Sycamore Court when he sexually assaulted her. [Patch]
Police Investigate South Lakes Bank Robbery — Police officers were dispatched to BB&T in the South Lakes Village Shopping Center yesterday morning (Tuesday) after a man reportedly entered the bank, grabbed the manager, and demanded cash before leaving the area on foot. No injuries were reported, and detectives are continuing to investigate the incident, which is the second time the branch has been robbed this year. [FCPD]
Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Reston Station Tomorrow — Reston Station will host a second COVID-19 vaccination clinic next to Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Anyone who visits the clinic to get their first dose will receive $15 gift cards to Starbucks and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers. Second Pfizer doses will be administered on Sept. 14 and 16. [Reston Station/Twitter]
Reston Community Center Starts ESports League — Embracing a trend that is also coming to Fairfax County Public Schools, Reston Community Center is teaming up with the platform GGLeagues to launch an esports program this fall. Players will compete from home using their own consoles and can choose from a variety of games. Each league will run for six weeks starting on Oct. 4, and registration will be open until Sept. 22. [RCC]