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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

Answers to your gardening questions and problems! E-mail questions and pictures to greenhelpline.warrenco@gmail.com

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Local News

Virtual learning a mixed bag for special education students, teachers

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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

Sebastian and Gabriel Saxon wake up at the same time every day and log into online classes. Sebastian has Cerebral palsy and is diagnosed with autism. Gabriel has hearing loss and wears hearing aids.

The twins’ mother, Judi Saxon, said that Google Meet, the platform used to conduct online classes, has worked well for her sons, who are freshmen in high school this year.

“They’re both rule followers,” Saxon said. “They like routine.”

Saxon said she is involved in her sons’ education and the special needs community. Her husband, Michael Saxon, sits on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Virginia. She said that switching to all virtual learning was an adjustment, but it had a positive effect on her teenage sons.

“Our family is pretty low-key, and our boys are not super sports fans, and they don’t have a lot of extracurricular activities,” she said. “So they weren’t really missing out on that. And they are homebodies, so they really enjoyed it.”

The COVID-19 era has restructured education for everyone, especially students with disabilities. The lack of peer interaction has negatively impacted some students with disabilities, while allowing others to thrive in the digital classroom, according to parents and educators.

The Virginia Department of Education reported a decrease in fall term enrollment for all students, including students with disabilities. Enrollment for students without and with disabilities declined by 3% and 4% respectively from 2019 to 2020 academic years, according to VDOE.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced guidelines in June for the phased reopening of pre-K through 12th-grade schools for the 2020-2021 academic year. The announcement prioritized special education students to return to in-person education before other groups.

But many school districts, including Richmond, opted to remain remote since the beginning of the school year. Some districts are allowing only students with disabilities to return to in-person learning. VDOE Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Samantha Hollins said that for students with disabilities, the virtual learning environment may be more of a challenge.

State and public agencies are required to provide early intervention, special education, and related services nationally to more than 6.5 million people with disabilities, according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The VDOE oversees special education for children and youth with disabilities between ages 3 to 21.

“It has become more challenging of course, but the students’ rights remain,” said VDOE spokesman Charles B. Pyle. “The services that are required to be provided to those students who do not go on holiday because of the pandemic.”

Local school divisions offer special programs and resources for students with disabilities, but remote education may be inaccessible during the pandemic for such students who rely on hands-on education, according to Hollins. There are almost 168,000 students with disabilities in Virginia public schools, according to VDOE’s latest enrollment numbers. Disabilities range from intellectual and emotional to hearing and visual impairments, including the deaf and blind, Hollins said.

“Certain populations of students are more at-risk and not able to access virtual learning or remote education as easily as other students, for example, students with disabilities,” Hollins said.

“When you talk about students with disabilities, there is a pretty wide group of those students.”

Students are often required to attend multiple courses per day via Zoom or Google Meet, including out-of-class assignments. Hollins said her department has provided a lot of information on assistive technology. For example, virtual education may be accessible to a hearing-impaired student with screen reader software.

“Students who have a visual disability, or blind, or a hearing impairment, or deaf, will require special tools to be loaded onto their Chromebook,” Hollins said.

The VDOE sponsors training and technical assistance centers across the state to provide support to teachers test-driving new technology, Hollins said. Public and private special education schools have a collaborative approach to improve educational services for students during COVID-19. According to VDOE, technology provided to public schools is accessible to private educational facilities.

“We’ve had countless meetings with public schools during these difficult times,” said Sarah Ulmer, principal of Grafton School in Midlothian.

Grafton Integrated Health Network is a nonprofit with group homes and schools serving students with autism, intellectual disabilities, and mental health challenges, according to its website.

Seventy-four students are enrolled on the Midlothian campus, Ulmer said. During the COVID-19 mandated closure, students with disabilities received in-person instruction from their residential group homes, while teachers provided virtual instruction to students who do not live on-campus.

Although Grafton School reopened its community day school to in-person instruction five days a week, many parents have not sent their children to school, Ulmer said.

“Our students benefit from learning with hands-on activities,” Ulmer said. “The teachers and clinicians have worked hard to create work activities that are sent home to our students to complete with their families.”

Distance learning plans at the school include individualized sessions throughout the week with the student’s teacher and assigned therapists.

Many educators as well as parents have differing views on online platforms being used for virtual education. Some also question how effective online education is as a whole and said it is a struggle for teachers and students.

Donna Marshall, a special education teacher at Lakeside Elementary in Henrico County. Photo courtesy of Capital News Service

Donna Marshall, a special education teacher at Lakeside Elementary in Henrico County, said that both she and many of her students have had issues with the online format.

“It was very difficult for them at first,” Marshall said. “This is such a change for them. Many of them need different things like sensory breaks, and it’s really hard for them to just sit in front of a computer.”

The primary platform Marshall and her students use is Microsoft Teams. She said that while it works well in business settings, she believes that it is less effective in a classroom setting due to audio issues.

Marshall said that some of her students have done well with virtual education, but the format has had a negative impact on other students.

“I have seen several kids majorly regress because they don’t have the in-person connection,” she said.

Marjorie Loya, a Special Olympics coach and a retired special education teacher from Chesterfield County who is now a substitute teacher, said the biggest concern she has for the children learning virtually is the lack of interaction with peers.

“They just don’t see the other kids, which is the shame,” she said. “That’s the big piece that I see that they’re missing. They’re interacting with adults, but they’re not interacting with their peers.”

Loya said she believes that online education in the special needs community is ineffective, especially in the long run.

“I don’t think it’s very good at all because there are so many things, so many aspects that you can’t deliver services for,” she said. “Virtually, you just can’t do it. One of the biggest issues that people with autism have is interacting with other people, and now we’re taking almost all of that away and putting a computer between them.”

Anteal Gargiulo, a special education teacher at Goochland High School in Goochland, said that while some students she teaches have adapted well, others are struggling with the lack of structure and in-person interaction.

“My autistic kids that I thought were going to have the biggest issues actually have been more outgoing and verbal because they are on the computer, by themselves, and in their own space,” she said. “For other kids, the lack of structure has really thrown them.”

As a whole, virtual learning “has not been the best thing” for the special needs community because many students are used to teachers being physically present to help them, Gargiulo said.

“On a case-by-case basis, it’s been good for a couple of our autistic kids. As far as the rest of the kids, it has been a struggle because they don’t have the teachers right there with them.”

By Hunter Britt and India Jones
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Local News

Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – December 2, 2020

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on

When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response.

Highlights include:

  • vaccine for the coronavirus “extremely hopeful”
  • first vaccine shipment for health care workers; residents of long-term care facilities
  • continue to wear masks; practice social distancing
  • watching for post-Thanksgiving surge in cases
  • hospitals have surge plans in place if needed
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Local News

Virginia Redistricting Committee takes shape; public can apply

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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

More than half a dozen legislators have been named to a bipartisan redistricting commission that seeks to fairly draw congressional and state legislative districts.

The commission will be made up of 16 people. Half of them will be legislators and the other half will be Virginia citizens.

Virginia legislative leaders chose four Republicans and four Democrats this week to sit on the committee. Democrats include Dels. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond and Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, plus Sens. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, and George Barker, D-Fairfax. The Republicans on the committee are Dels. Les Adams, R-Chatham, and Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, as well as Sens. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, and Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg.

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the speaker of the Virginia House and one of the officials responsible for naming the legislative members of the commission, announced her appointments on Nov. 30. Filler-Corn said in a statement that McQuinn and Simon are “committed to inclusion” and “dedicated to a fair redistricting process that protects the vote of every Virginian.”

House Republican Leader Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a statement that his appointees “will help craft what the voters have demanded — fair maps for every Virginian.”

Almost 66% of Virginians voted last month in support of an amendment to establish the commission, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. Days after the election, state lawmakers agreed to a $135 billion revised budget that included setting up the commission. The previous law stated that the General Assembly and the governor had total control over redistricting.

The majority of congressional and state legislative districts in Virginia were redrawn after the 2010 U.S. Census when Republicans controlled both chambers of the General Assembly and the executive branch. The maps are scheduled to be redrawn again next year with final census counts. However, the U.S. Census Bureau requested a delay to submit redistricting data to states no later than July 31, 2021, instead of April 1.

Erin Dodson, a 20-year-old from Sussex County, is one of more than 2.7 million Virginians who voted for the amendment. He said that getting Virginians more involved was a step in the right direction.

“I feel like it’s only fair that the people are heard,” Dodson said. “This is America; freedom of speech and government involvement is what we’re all about.”

New legislative district maps approved by the commission would go to the General Assembly for a vote. If any are rejected, the commission would be required to produce new maps. If rejected again, the Virginia Supreme Court would establish the new districts.

The state also started accepting applications this week for residents who want to serve on the commission. Retired circuit court judges will choose the citizen members.

In order to be considered, citizens must have lived in Virginia for the past three years. They also must have voted in at least two of the last three general elections. Citizens who hold, have held or sought to hold a political position or public office will not be considered, nor will lobbyists or people who have served as lobbyists in the last five years. Three letters of recommendation are also required to be considered for an appointment.

The applications are due by December 28. Click here for the application.

By Hunter Britt
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Community Events

This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of December 4th

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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! We are continuing to practice “6 Foot Social Distancing” with 30% capacity reserved seating in all auditoriums.

Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, December 4:

• Friday: 6:00 & 8:20
• Sat & Sun: 1:00, 3:30 & 6:00
• Mon – Thurs: 7:00
Rated G  |  Run Time: 1 hour 40 min

• Friday: 6:05 & 8:30
• Sat & Sun: 1:05, 3:35 & 6:05
• Mon – Thurs: 7:05
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 1 hour 36 min

• Friday: 6:10 & 8:25
• Sat & Sun: 1:10, 3:40 & 6:10
• Mon – Thurs: 7:10
Rated PG  |  Run Time: 1 hour 35 min


Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $9
  • Child (under 12): $6
  • Military: $7
  • Student (college): $7
  • Senior: $7
  • Matinees, All Seating: $6

Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:

  • “Grinch”
  • Triple Feature: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “White Christmas”
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A green Christmas: eco-friendly decorating

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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

Holiday decorations can help make Christmas feel like a magical time of the year. Here are a few ways you can make them more eco-friendly.

Invest in eco-friendly lighting
Brighten up the exterior of your home with LED lights and use a timer, so they don’t stay on all night. Alternatively, you can opt for solar-powered lighting. If you want to set the mood with candles, choose natural soy-based products.

Buy locally made items

It’s best to reuse decorations from one year to the next. However, if you want a change, look for second-hand options at a thrift store or stroll through a Christmas market to find unique ornaments made by local artisans. Alternatively, you can organize a decoration swap among friends and family members.

Make your own decorations
Use natural materials like fallen branches, pine cones, and dried leaves to make your own seasonal decor. If you want to get the kids involved in holiday crafts, sort through your recycling bin for useful supplies like toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and egg cartons.

Finally, be sure to buy your Christmas tree from a local farm that doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides. For an unconventional alternative, build your own by stacking books or using other common household items.

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9 ways to connect as a family over the holidays

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When:
August 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
2020-08-31T10:00:00-04:00
2020-08-31T13:00:00-04:00
Where:
Warren County Extension Office
220 North Commerce Avenue
Suite 500
Front Royal VA 22630
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Warren County Extension Office
540-635-4549

The holidays are an ideal time to connect with your kids and spouse. Here are nine great ways to spend quality time together.

1. Cook or bake
Whether it’s preparing a big meal or making treats for Santa, cooking is a great way to bond with kids of all ages.

2. Rent a cottage

Spending a few days at a cottage in the wilderness will provide you with an escape from the city and allow you to reconnect with your family. Leaving your usual distractions behind will make it easier to keep everyone together.

3. Have a game night
An evening spent playing games is sure to be filled with laughter and excitement. Make a point to choose games that appeal to everyone.

4. Spend a day outdoors
The winter holiday is an ideal time to go snowshoeing, skating, skiing, tobogganing, hiking, snowmobiling or to simply build a snowman. There’s nothing like a day spent outdoors to help you create lasting family memories and smiling rosy faces.

5. Support a good cause
Working together to make a positive difference in the world is a fantastic way to forge stronger family ties. Spend some time picking a cause that speaks to you and your kids, and research the best way to support it.

6. Watch a movie
Choose a film or series that everyone in the family will enjoy, pop some corn and gather in the living room to share a couple of hours at home.

7. Make a family bucket list
Make a list of the fun activities that you, your spouse, and your kids want to do. Put your list in a spot where it’s visible to all (like on the fridge) and start crossing things off.

8. Plan a cultural or educational trip
There’s no shortage of things to do that are both fun and educational, from going to zoos and planetariums to visiting science and history museums.

9. Create a family survey
Put together a fun questionnaire tailored to the ages of your children to find out more about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, ambitions, and more. Ask about their dream job, which countries they’d like to visit, what they most wish for, and what their most cherished memories are.

However, you decide to spend time with your family over the holidays, the important thing is that you’ll be together.

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Front Royal
39°
Clear
7:14am4:50pm EST
Feels like: 36°F
Wind: 9mph W
Humidity: 37%
Pressure: 30.24"Hg
UV index: 0
ThuFriSat
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Upcoming Events

Dec
5
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Dec 5 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]
7:00 am 64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
Dec 5 @ 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
The Kiwanis Club of Front Royal is celebrating its 75 anniversary this year and are committed to holding the annual Pancake Day fundraising event. This event raises significant funds which are put back directly into[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 5 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
7:00 pm Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Dec 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
It’s that time of year for Rotary Club of Front Royal’s annual Cash Fair, and we are going virtual this year due to COVID. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and[...]
Dec
6
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 6 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 6 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
13
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 13 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 13 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
19
Sat
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 19 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
20
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 20 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]