The Triangle Newsletter: News in 5 (Sep 20)

Your News in 5 update for September 20, 2021.

Good morning, Historic Triangle!

We’re just two days away from the official start of fall, and the scorching heat is starting to fade, with temperatures forecast to be quite comfortable – in the 70s to low 80s all week.

Now onto the news. Here’s your roundup of the week’s top local, state and national news stories, broken down into a quick, 5-minute read.

Local

1. WJCC school hours are temporarily changing due to transportation issues.

  • The division announced a plan to adjust school start and end times by 5-10 minutes each day in an effort to address “significant” ongoing transportation delays.
  • The change will be effective between Sept. 20-30, and students should prepare to arrive at their bus stop 5-10 minutes earlier in the morning.
  • At the end of the trial period, the division will decide whether or not to keep the schedule in place for the rest of the year.
  • “WJCC Schools’ transportation team continues to look at all options to improve bus pick up and drop off…When bus drivers are covering more than one route or making multiple ‘runs’ at one school, there is a domino effect leading to extended wait times for afternoon pickups at other schools,” a statement by WJCC said.
  • The new times for each school can be found here, and route information will be updated on the division website as soon as it is available.

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2. COVID-19 cases are declining at William & Mary amid enhanced protocols.

  • The number of active cases among students dropped to 87 on Monday morning after a high of 213 last week, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. A total of three active cases were reported among staff.
  • W&M implemented temporary new prevention measures last week amid high case rates, including an outdoor mask mandate, a transition to remote or outdoor-only meeting formats for student organizations and a shift to “to-go” dining only.
  • Contact tracing confirmed the majority of students testing positive are contracting the virus through unmasked interactions, often in small group settings. Currently, 93 percent of students and 97 percent of employees are fully vaccinated.
  • “I think it’s really important for folks to understand how actively we are engaged in doing the work around this because maintaining the safety of our community remains our top priority,” Amy Sebring, chief operating officer and Covid-19 director for W&M told the Virginia Gazette.

Statewide

1. Early voting has begun in the Commonwealth.

  • With the November elections fast approaching, early voting is officially underway, and candidates are upping their efforts to reach voters.
  • Voters will have the ability to cast their ballots for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
  • Registered voters will have until Saturday, Oct. 30 to vote at early voting locations. The last day to register to vote in this year’s general election is Oct. 12, and election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 2.
  • All individuals who vote in the state have traditionally been required to show a proper form of photo ID, but a new state law allows Virginians to use a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document with the voter’s name and address as proof of identity.
  • For more information on early voting, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

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2. COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged among children in Virginia.

  • Hospitalizations among children in Virginia due to COVID-19 have reached record-breaking numbers, ABC 13 News reports.
  • Last week, 253 children under the age of 18 were hospitalized because of the virus, the highest number ever recorded since the start of the pandemic.
  • Nationwide, nearly half a million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks, according to Newsweek.
  • Symptoms among children are typically similar to those seen in adults and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some children also experience signs of stomach distress.

3. Black and Hispanic drivers in Virginia are overrepresented in traffic stops, a new report shows.

  • The report, issued by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, is the first of its kind to be published as part of the state’s Community Policing Act, a new law passed last year.
  • The analysis found that 31 percent of drivers stopped were Black, even though only 19.6 percent of Virginia’s driving-age population is Black.
  • Hispanic drivers were also stopped at higher rates than white drivers. While Hispanics comprised 8.7 percent of the state’s driving-age population, they made up 9.5 percent of drivers stopped, the report found.
  • The report analyzed data from every traffic stop made in the first nine months of the year, including drivers’ demographic information and why the vehicles were stopped.
  • A spokeswoman for Gov. Northam told the Virginian-Pilot that the data was “troubling but unsurprising” and said the report is the first step in addressing the disparities.

National

1. The UN is warning of a potential new Cold War between China and the U.S.

  • Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who heads the UN, told the AP that China and the U.S must work toward improving their relationship before the mounting tensions lead to a perilous outcome that could have worldwide consequences.
  • “We need to avoid at all cost a Cold War that would be different from the past one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage,” Guterres said.
  • Guterres warned a new Cold War could have especially troubling impacts. That’s because the rules and common interests that managed the previous crisis between the Soviet Union and the U.S are not in place between China and the U.S today, he says.

2. Human remains found in Wyoming likely Gabby Petito, FBI says.

  • Petito, 22, vanished while documenting a cross-country road trip. Her family reported her missing on September 11.
  • Authorities say Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who accompanied her on the trip, is a “person of interest” in the case.
  • Laundrie has reportedly not been seen since last Tuesday. According to the AP, an intensive search effort is now underway in a Florida nature preserve, where Laundrie is believed to be hiding out.
  • “Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones.

3. An FDA advisory panel rejected COVID-19 booster shots for the general population but approved them for adults 65+.

  • The committee of experts rejected administering a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people 16 and older by a vote of 16-2, PBS News reports.
  • The panel, however, unanimously endorsed a third dose for individuals 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
  • The vote Friday was only the first step in the process for determining the U.S’s booster strategy. The FDA will decide how to move forward in the next several days, but it typically follows the recommendations of the committee.
  • The CDC is also expected to further examine the topic of booster shots Wednesday. The CDC is reportedly considering approving boosters for certain high-risk groups, including older individuals and front-line healthcare workers.

Events This Week

Multiple Days

Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool Days – Colonial Williamsburg. Daily, Sept. 20 – 26. Special discounted admission rates apply for homeschool students. See website for details.

Great Williamsburg Adventure Race – Sept. 23 – 26. Check-in required prior to event. See website for locations, details and updates about new Covid-19 protocols. $20 per team; free for teams with two or more W&M students.

Watermen’s Museum Folk Festival. Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown. Free. Saturday, Sept. 25 (10 am – 9 pm) & Sunday, Sept. 26 (12 pm – 9 pm).

Monday, Sept. 20

What’s in the Water. York River State Park in Williamsburg. 10 am – 12 pm. Free with park admission.

Yoga Overlooking the York River – Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown. 6 – 6:50 pm. $10 in person; $5 virtual.

Thursday, Sept. 23

Rhythms on the Riverwalk Series: Blue Tips Rhythm Revue – 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Free.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Yorktown Market Days – Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. 8 am – 12 pm.

Williamsburg Farmers Market – 410 W. Francis St. in Williamsburg. 8 am – 12 pm.

Clean Virginia Waterways – Volunteer park cleanup event; children welcome. York River State Park in Williamsburg. 9 am – 12 pm.

Yorktown Art Stroll – Along Water Street in Yorktown. 10 am – 5 pm. Free.

Sunday, Sept. 26

Guided Tour of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown – Meets at the entrance of the museum. 1 – 2:30 pm. Admission is free with museum ticket.

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Have questions, comments or suggestions? Want to let me know how I’m doing? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at [email protected].

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