(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Of Arlington’s eight private schools that offer a level of K-12 education, seven have announced plans to bring students to the classroom either five days a week or in a hybrid model.
Full Circle Montessori School is the only school that told ARLnow it is not planning on opening for in-person instruction.
All reopening schools have said they will implement plans aimed at curbing the coronavirus’ spread as cases continue to rise in Arlington. Required mask wearing, physical distancing and general compliance with Virginia’s Phase 3 guidance for schools were the most common strategies schools said they will use.
In other parts of the country, some schools that have reopened to in-person learning are already reporting coronavirus outbreaks. A recent study from South Korea found that while children under 10 are less likely to spread the disease, those ages 10-19 spread it “at least as well as adults do.”
The following list provides a brief outline of each local school’s plan. Only schools where the majority of education is at a K-12 level were included.
Full Circle has an elementary school for 1st-6th grades near Bailey’s Crossroads and Montessori schools at three locations throughout Arlington.
Tatjana Vichnevsky, head of school at Full Circle, told ARLnow in an email she is “not planning on opening Full Circle Montessori School until — at the earliest — the week of October 5.”
Vichnevsky added that her husband, an epidemiologist, is directing the school’s reopening plan using COVID-19 metrics for the D.C. region and Arlington’s population.
Our Savior offers kindergarten through 8th grade instruction to about 120 students at its Barcroft building.
Its reopening plan is based on a modified hybrid model. Students who do not want to return in person can choose distance learning, but classroom lessons will not be available virtually and these students will instead work with an online liaison to their classroom teacher.
Only staff and students will be allowed in Our Savior’s building, and everyone will have their temperature checked upon arrival.
Students must wash their hands when they enter the classrooms and everyone in the building must wear a mask. Socially distant breaks will be provided during the day for students to be without masks.
Rivendell School, located on Lee Highway in the Yorktown neighborhood, has K-8 education for about 150 students.
A spokeswoman said Rivendell “is planning to be at school with a modified schedule and mitigation strategies.”
Parents will also have the option of keeping their students at home for distance learning.
The Sycamore School, based in Ballston, enrolls approximately 60 students in 5th through 12th grades.
According to the school’s website, it announced on July 21 plans to resume in-person instruction five days a week in the fall.
No visitors, including parents, will be allowed in the school. The school’s meetings and community workshops will be conducted over Zoom.
Arlington’s four other K-12 private schools are under the direction of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
These three K-8 schools — with student body sizes of approximately 460, 220 and 400, respectively — will open five days a week for in-person instruction, according to Joseph Vorbach, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
Vorbach said the schools’ reopening plans are primarily based on Virginia’s Phase 3 school guidance. The state encourages schools to require face coverings, limit gathering sizes, restrict classes and groups of students from mixing, and mandate six foot distancing whenever possible.
Arlington Dems Reject Bipartisan Redistricting — “Despite criticism from within the party that the move would be seen as blatantly partisan as well as bad policy, the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s membership on Aug. 6 voted to oppose the state constitutional amendment that, if enacted, would set up an independent redistricting commission.” [InsideNova]
Marymount Announces Reorganization — “In its latest strategic initiative, Transform MU, Marymount University is restructuring its existing academic programs into three highly focused Colleges, each combining disciplines to create broader educational and research opportunities.” [Press Release]
Diocese Announces New Virtual School — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced it will offer a fully virtual school for grades K-8 in the 2020-2021 academic year, which begins in early September. The school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, provides a new option to parents interested in enrolling their children in local Catholic schools. All 41 brick-and-mortar Catholic schools in the Diocese, which serve 17,000 students, have announced they will reopen in the fall for either safe-distance full-time in-person instruction or a combination of in-person instruction and e-Learning. St. Isidore offers families an option for full-time virtual learning.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
Local Teen Raises Money for Yemen — “Since July 1, an Arlington teenager has raised $300 for Saba Relief. The organization helps people affected by the crisis in Yemen. Emily Tesone started hand sewing plushies for her friends when the pandemic began. Her hobby grew more meaningful after she learned about what was happening in Yemen.” [WDVM]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
March Planned Tonight in Crystal City — “This Tuesday (6/30) we will be gathering in Crystal City Courtyard Green to march to Pentagon City in defense of Black womxn.” [Twitter]
Petition for APS to Require Masks — “To maximize the chances of success for Arlington Public Schools (Virginia) hybrid return to school model we urge the School Board and Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán to make face coverings compulsory for both students and teachers during the days they are at school for in-person learning. Those who object to wearing masks can always choose the distance-learning option.” [Change.org]
Local Church to Feed Thousands — “On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP) in south Arlington is working with José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) to feed families in need of food assistance. World Central Kitchen is providing 3,500 meals to OLQP for distribution to the community. Meals will be offered to take home in conjunction with pre-packed food the OLQP food pantry distributes every Wednesday morning. This is the second time WCK will be providing meals to OLQP during the pandemic.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
Catholic Churches Enter ‘Phase 3’ — “All 70 parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will move into phase three of Virginia’s reopening plan on Wednesday. Officials announced Monday that each parish is ‘able, but not mandated, to celebrate public Mass with capacity restrictions lifted’ beginning on July 1.” [Fox 5]
County Adjusts Committee Meeting Rules — “After facing a rebellion from members and chairs of advisory commissions, the Arlington County Board has revised rules for holding meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps the two biggest changes from the original plans: Commission chairs (apparently) will no longer have to seek county-staff permission to hold meetings. Advisory-group meetings will be allowed in-person or in a hybrid format, in addition to the previously announced “virtual”-only arrangement.” [InsideNova]
New Construction Contract for VHC Inked — “Skanska USA has inked more work with Virginia Hospital Center as the Arlington hospital soldiers on with its $250 million expansion project. The construction company said Monday it signed a contract worth $96 million for site work for the new outpatient pavilion and parking garage at the hospital. That’s on top of a $37 million contract with VHC it grabbed late last year.” [Washington Business Journal]
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (2700 19th Street S.) runs a food pantry that, once a week, provides a full bag of groceries. With Catholic churches in the Arlington Diocese no longer meeting on Sundays, Father Timothy Hickey sent a letter on Sunday to the congregation saying the situation with the food pantry has become increasingly dire.
“The number of families we serve has increased each of the past several weeks, and we anticipate that will only continue to grow,” Hickey said. “At the same time, with in-person masses suspended, our donations (both monetarily and food items) have considerably decreased. Combine those two factors and it is not difficult to appreciate the challenge we are facing.”
“While everything else in our parish has scaled back and otherwise paused during this pandemic, our entire parish leadership very strongly feels it is vital to keep the Food Pantry open and continue to serve this community in need,” Hickey said. “We have a small but mighty staff and volunteers that are committed to keeping this ministry going to the best of our abilities.”
Hickey said there were three ways to contribute to the food pantry.
Monetary donations can be made online. A general donation will include the food pantry as well as money to pay for church staff salaries, but there is also an option to just donate to the pantry.
Food can also be dropped off at the shelter. Hickey said a bin will be placed behind the church from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is also a list of specific foods requested for donation:
- 1 bag of rice, any size (bigger ones will be split into a 1 lbs. bag)
- 1 bag of dry beans, 1 lbs. or two cans of beans (prefer black, pinto or small red beans)
- 1 pack of long or short pasta
- 1 jar of pasta sauce approx. 24 oz. (any flavor is great)
- 1 box of low sugar cereals (eg. Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Cheerios)
- 1 can of corn approx. 16 oz
- 1 can of green vegetables approx. 16 oz (eg. green beans, sweet peas)
- 1 can of fruit in light syrup or in its own juices
- 2 cans of tuna or packs of tuna in water or oil
- 1 bottle of oil, 48 oz.
- 1 bag of Tortimasa (no cornmeal)
The church, in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, is also requesting help from volunteers to help break food into smaller servings for individual grocery bags.
To this end, the following are our current volunteer needs.
- 2 Food Sourcing Volunteers — These volunteers will be calling the list of stores and other food sources (eg. Costco, BJ’s, Restaurant Depot) each week to determine which of the Food Pantry needed items are in stock. Ultimately, these volunteers will be coming up with the shopping list and location for the volunteer grocery shoppers. Because so many stores are running out of items, the ideal volunteer for this role will have plenty of patience and persistence. When Plans A, B and C don’t work out because the stores can’t meet the demand, we are looking for creative and resourceful personalities who thrive on figuring out the plan even if that means getting all the way down to Plans X, Y and Z. The ideal volunteer for this role can commit to weekly or every other week outreach through mid-June.
- 4 Bulk Grocery Shoppers — For this role that involves receiving the grocery list and completing the grocery run for bulk items, the ideal volunteer will have a large car, be able to carry large amounts of heavy items and would be able to commit to weekly or every other week grocery runs through midJune.
- 1 Signage Volunteer — Any budding artists among us? Signs are needed to clearly mark the bins where in-person donations will be received. This is a short term and immediate need. Perhaps ideal for one of our Religious Education families?
- 1 Admin Assistant — This ideal volunteer is someone with strong computer skills to help organize various aspects of this effort such as creating volunteer lists, organizing team calls and various other types of simple items that come up. Ideally would be able to commit through mid-June.
“It is only through your generosity that we are able to continue to help supplement their food needs,” Hickey said, “especially in this time of crisis.”
Photo via Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
Resources to Assist Those in Need — Arlington County has created a list of food, financial and medical assistance that is available for neighbors in need during the coronavirus outbreak. [Arlington County]
Vihstadt Stands Up for Farmers Markets — “At Saturday’s County Board meeting, former board member John Vihstadt rapped the state government for lumping in farmers’ markets – of which Arlington has nearly a dozen operating throughout the week – with restaurants (which for the most part are now closed to dine-in service and in many cases are shuttered completely) rather than treating them as supermarkets (which remain open and running at full strength).” [InsideNova]
Giant Adjusting Store Hours — “Effective Friday, March 27, most Giant Food stores will adjust hours of operations to be open from 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m… The first hour of operations, 6:00-7:00 a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women and caregivers shopping for the immunocompromised, so that they may shop and practice safe social distancing.” [Press Release]
Va. Liquor Stores Limit Hours — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will reduce operating hours at all of its stores statewide beginning Friday, March 27, due to the expanding nature of the COVID-19 outbreak… stores across the commonwealth will be open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday, March 27.” [Virginia ABC]
County to Help Hospital with Bond Sale — “Continuing a 42-year tradition of collaboration, the Arlington County government will assist Virginia Hospital Center in issuing bonds to support new construction. County Board members on March 21 authorized the government’s Industrial Development Authority, or IDA, to issue up to $300 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to support the effort.” [InsideNova]
Local Catholic Schools Embrace Distance Learning — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools announced the successful stand-up of distance learning in all 41 parish schools and high schools in the Diocese. Distance learning is now in place, offering interactive, personalized instruction to students through the remainder of the academic year.” [Press Release]
Local Leaders Urge Rent Leniency — “There are new calls for landlords to freeze [rent] payments to help mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic… ‘We need them to show compassion on the front end, and we’ll work to make sure they’re made whole on the back end,’ said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tomb Sentinels Are Still Guarding — “There is a sacred duty not even a pandemic can stop: a rite of continuity still carried out in Arlington National Cemetery even as much of the country shuts down. The sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently marked more than 30,000 days of constant watch over the remains of unidentified U.S. service members — a streak persisting through the pandemic.” [WUSA 9]
Mass Cancelled at Catholic Churches — “On Monday, March 16, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington… announced that the public celebration of all Masses in the Diocese is suspended until further notice.” [Press Release]
Food Donations Needed — “We have already seen a sharp decrease in food donations from our local grocery stores. AFAC has begun to purchase more food to offset the drop of food available on our shelves. Please think about making a donation to AFAC to help us keep our warehouse full for our families in need.” [Arlington Food Assistance Center]
Regional Park Facilities Closed — “While park and facilities are open for individual use, programs organized by NOVA Parks are canceled. All NOVA Parks facilities and buildings will be closed beginning at the close of business on March 16 and remaining closed for at least two weeks. Many parks will remain open for passive use – trails, general visitation, etc.” [NOVA Parks]
Community Centers Closed — The following Arlington rec centers are closed: Aurora Hills Community Center, Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center, Carver Community Center, Charles Drew Community Center, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Gunston Community Center, Hendry House, Lee Community Center, Long Branch Nature Center and Madison Community Center. The Fairlington, Walter Reed, Arlington Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Langston-Brown community centers remain open with modified hours. [Arlington County]
Pentagon City Mall: Before and After — Photos of the Pentagon City mall food court before and after the coronavirus outbreak shows a stark difference: bustling before vs. nearly deserted after. [Twitter]
White House: Avoid Gatherings of 10+ — “The White House’s coronavirus task force announced tougher guidelines on Monday to help slow the spread of the disease, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.” [Axios]
More Signs of Coronavirus Preps — Emptier shelves at local grocery stores, less traffic on the roads: there are signs that locals are taking the coronavirus threat seriously. During the first hour of yesterday’s evening rush hour, traffic on I-395 was relatively light. Last night, there was barely any canned soup left on the shelves at the Lee-Harrison Harris Teeter. [Twitter, Twitter]
Some Churches Close, Others Announce Changes — Episcopal churches in the D.C. area have suspended worship services, while the Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced a series of measures intended to help prevent the spread of disease. [Washington Post, Press Release]
Events Are Being Cancelled in Arlington — “Out of an abundance of caution, the Rosslyn BID has decided to cancel our Arts & Beats series this March and April. We are hoping to run these events later this year and we will be evaluating future events on a case-by-case basis.” [Twitter]
Arlington Conferences Cancelled — “Code for America was scheduled to host its annual summit at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, from March 11 through 13. A Code for America spokesperson told Technical.ly that this would have been the first time the nonprofit was hosting the annual summit in the D.C. area, as it normally takes place in San Francisco. Code for America release a statement on Friday announcing the summit’s cancellation.” [Technically DC]
Local Real Estate Still Hot, Though — “Listing service Bright MLS said closed sales throughout the Washington metro area were up 13% from a year ago to a 10-year high… In Arlington County, Virginia, the median overall price of what sold was $635,000, up 12.4%. But the median price of a stand-alone house that sold in Arlington last month was $1.14 million, up 19.2% from last February.” [WTOP]
Arlington Works on Tree Preservation — “It’s not just housing affordability and increased traffic Arlington County officials are concerned about in the wake of Amazon.com Inc.’s arrival. They’re also watching out for the trees. County officials are proposing to add one urban forester position to the Department of Parks and Recreation. The new hire is needed to expand tree preservation efforts and work through the surge of site plans developers are pitching in the area of Amazon’s HQ2.” [Washington Business Journal]
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church is tired of being the big, ugly brick church in Clarendon.
St. Charles occupies a large piece of land in Clarendon, near Northside Social, and the church is continuing to review how that land should best be used — namely, the pastor says the church needs visual overhaul.
The redevelopment proposal started in 2018 with a push from the church’s pastor, Rev. Don Planty for a church that better suited the needs of the community. In a letter to the community, Planty said the church needed — among other things — a more “appealing design,” social spaces that would appeal to young adults, and green spaces.
The building has a glass facade on the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kirkwood Road, but much of the rest of the structure across from George Mason University is squat brick and a surface parking lot.
“The consensus was that the current parish physical plant does not support those aspects of our mission as well as a redeveloped campus could,” Planty said at the time.
A spokesperson for the church said the community has nearly finalized the “second phase” of its redevelopment planning efforts.
“This phase focuses on determining how St. Charles parishioners prioritize ongoing programs to fulfill the mission of the parish,” the spokesperson said in an email. “A sub-group was formed to analyze those findings and has presented that preliminary information to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. The diocese is reviewing this information and collaborating with the parish in assessing the best opportunities for St. Charles Parish to continue to serve the local community in the years to come.”
Once the Catholic Diocese of Arlington reviews the information, the spokesperson said the priorities will be translated into master plan options that will be reviewed by county officials and the community. The master plan options are expected to be released sometime “in the coming months.”
“At every point moving forward, the parish will actively engage the local community ensuring it continues to be a good neighbor throughout the process,” the spokesperson said.
Other churches in Arlington have funded new facilities through redevelopment of the church property, including the nearby Church at Clarendon and Arlington Presbyterian along Columbia Pike. Both congregations approved affordable housing developments that were built on top of the new church spaces.
Local Brews for Crystal City Oktoberfest — “Oktoberfest is returning [to Crystal City] in 2019 with a new partner, local Arlington brewery New District Brewing. The second annual celebration, which will feature a selection of local beers, live entertainment, and a variety of food trucks and vendors serving traditional German fare, will take place on Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. at The Grounds, located at 12th and South Eads Street in Crystal City.” [Press Release]
D.C. Developments Now Touting Proximity to Arlington — The announcement of a large, new mixed-use development in the District touts its 750 market-rate residential rental units, 42,000 square feet of co-working space, and “great access to… emerging areas, including National Landing.” [Twitter]
Catholic Newspaper Reducing Publishing Frequency — The Arlington Catholic Herald will be moving from weekly to biweekly publication, as part of a series of changes that also includes expanding the number of households to which the paper is sent. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Sewage Leak Along Spout Run — “Residents are advised to avoid a generally inaccessible portion of Spout Run due to a sanitary sewer main break east of the Spout Run Parkway-Lorcom Lane fork. County staff are on site establishing a bypass.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Ray’s the Steaks Closing — “Washington will soon lose a carnivorous institution. Ray’s the Steaks, an unfussy Arlington chophouse that’s operated in the neighborhood for 17 years, will close after service on Saturday, June 15, says chef/owner Michael Landrum.” [Washingtonian]
DOJ Announces APS Settlement — “Today the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced a settlement agreement with Arlington Public Schools that will bolster English language services to the district’s approximately 5,000 students who are not proficient in English.” [Dept. of Justice]
Flags Fly Half Mast for Va. Beach — Flags at Arlington County buildings are flying half mast in honor of the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. [Twitter]
Parking Is Point of Contention for Redevelopment — “Some surface parking at the Crystal House apartments is set to stick around, even as the Crystal City property gets redeveloped — and that’s worrying Arlington planners reviewing the project.” [Washington Business Journal]
‘Move Over’ Month in Arlington — “Move Over Awareness Month, recognized each June, is a statewide safety campaign designed to reduce the risk of injury or death to emergency personnel by raising motorist awareness of Virginia’s Move Over law.” [Arlington County]
New Priest for Arlington Cathedral — “Effective Thursday, June 27, 2019 and in accordance with the clergy appointments made by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington. the Very Reverend Patrick L. Posey, V.F., will be leaving his current position as Pastor of Saint James Catholic Church in Falls Church, to become the new Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington.”
Flash Flood Watch Issued — Arlington and the region is under a Flash Flood Watch starting at noon today. Heavy rain and storms, some of which may be severe, are expected this afternoon and evening. [Twitter, Twitter]
Anytime Fitness Opening Today — Anytime Fitness, a new 24/7 gym, is set to open today in Rosslyn. “New member specials will be available through the end of April and free community workouts will be held every Saturday in May,” said a PR rep.
Protest Yesterday in Ballston — “A protest against power company AES is happening this morning in Ballston outside the company’s HQ. ACPD is on the scene watching over the protest, which is peaceful and includes speeches and signs against AES’ activities in Puerto Rico.” [Twitter]
Bike Recycling Event Next Month — “Bikes for the World will be collecting unneeded bicycles, bike parts and accessories on Saturday, May 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Arlington E-CARE (Environmental Collection and Recycling Event) at 1425 North Quincy St.” [InsideNova]
Carbeque on I-395 — A car caught fire on southbound I-395 near Glebe Road just before Thursday’s evening rush hour. Several lanes were closed as a result of the vehicular inferno, but firefighters eventually extinguished the raging flames. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Good Friday in Arlington — “On Friday, April 19, several parishes of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will offer Living Stations of the Cross (or Via Crucis en Vivo). The Living Stations consist of a visual portrayal of Jesus on the way to his crucifixion.” [Diocese of Arlington]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick