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I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes – Week of January 26, 2020

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Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project construction continues throughout the corridor during daytime and overnight hours as weather conditions allow. Current activities include (new activities of note are bolded):

• Bridge beam installation for Poplar Tree Road bridge over Route 28 (see traffic impacts below)

• Bridge demolition at Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) flyover ramp and Waples Mill Road bridge over I-66 (see traffic impacts below)

• Constructing bridge foundations at Compton Road, Route 29, Route 28, Route 123, Vaden Drive, and I-495

• Small charge dynamite operations along I-66 East and West near Route 28 and Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) (see traffic impacts below)

• Bridge deck work for new collector-distributor road over Route 234 Business and new Route 28 bridges over I-66

• Relocating water lines at Jermantown Road, Stringfellow Road, and Gallows Road

• Constructing new utility duct bank and relocating underground utilities along I-66 East

• Constructing retaining walls along I-66 and Route 28

• Corridor-wide roadway maintenance as needed

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at Transform66.org.

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting 511virginia.org or downloading the Virginia511 app.

ROUTE 29 / GAINESVILLE
Ramp from I-66 East to Route 234 (Prince William Parkway)
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Midnight to 4 a.m.
The ramp will be closed for overhead cantilever sign removal. Drivers will be directed to continue farther east to Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) South, turn right at Balls Ford Road, then travel back to Prince William Parkway.

ROUTE 234 BUSINESS (SUDLEY ROAD) / MANASSAS
I-66 East and West between Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) and Bull Run Rest Area
Ramps from Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) to I-66 East
Monday, Jan. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 30: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary 15-minute stoppages of traffic on I-66 East and West for blasting operations. Additionally, stoppages will occur on the ramp from Sudley Road to I-66 East. Stoppages may also be needed on Vandor Lane.

Ramp from I-66 West to Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) North
Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1: 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The ramp will be closed for underground drainage culvert work. Drivers will be directed to Route 234 Business South, turn right at the third traffic signal onto Coverstone Drive, take the first right at Miramar Drive, turn right on Balls Ford Road, then turn left at the traffic signal on to northbound Route 234 Business.

ROUTE 28 (SULLY ROAD) / CENTREVILLE
I-66 East and West between Route 29 Centreville and Stringfellow Road
Route 28 North and South between Route 29 and Braddock Road
Braddock Road at Route 28
Ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East
Monday, Jan. 27, through Friday, Jan. 31: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary 15-minute stoppages of traffic on I-66 East and West, Route 28 North and South, and on Braddock Road near Route 28 for blasting operations. Additionally, stoppages will occur on the ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East, and on the ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 West.

Route 28 North between I-66 and Westfields Boulevard
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 28 North/Braddock Road
Ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North
Monday, Jan. 27, and Tuesday, Jan. 28: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
There will be a full closure of Route 28 North at Braddock Road from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night for crews to install bridge beams over Route 28. Drivers will be directed to turn left at Braddock Road, then right on to Westfields Boulevard, then follow signs to Route 28 North.

The ramp from I-66 West to Route 28 North/Braddock Road will be closed. Drivers will be detoured farther west to Route 29 Centreville, turn right at the traffic signal on to Route 29 South, then right on to Stone Road, continue on to Westfields Boulevard, then follow signs to Route 28 North.

The ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North will also be closed. Drivers will be detoured to Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) North, follow signs to Route 50 West, then follow signs to Route 28 North.

All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Route 28 South from Westfields Boulevard to Braddock Road
Ramps from Westfields Boulevard East and West to Route 28 South
Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Thursday, Jan. 30: Midnight to 5 a.m.
There will be a full closure of Route 28 South at Westfields Boulevard from midnight to 5 a.m. each night for crews to install bridge beams over Route 28. Drivers will be directed to Westfields Boulevard West, then turn left on to Braddock Road and follow signs to Route 28 South. As an alternative to reach I-66, drivers can use Route 50 East and Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) South.

The ramp from westbound Westfields Boulevard to Route 28 South will be closed. Drivers will be directed to continue farther west, turn left on Braddock Road, and then follow signs to Route 28 South. The ramp from eastbound Westfields Boulevard to Route 28 South will also be closed. Drivers will be directed to the ramp for Route 28 North, stay to the right for Westfields Boulevard West, continue farther west on Westfields Boulevard, then turn left on Braddock Road and follow signs to Route 28 South.

All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

ROUTE 286 (FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY) / FAIR LAKES
Stringfellow Road between Fair Lakes Boulevard and Village Square Drive
Monday, Jan. 27, through Friday, Jan. 31: 9 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 31, from 9 p.m. until 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3
The right lane of southbound Stringfellow Road will be closed for underground utility relocation. The lane will be reopened weekdays between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to accommodate the evening rush.

ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
I-66 West from Blake Lane to Route 50
Monday, Jan. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 30: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road. Drivers should expect slowdowns and occasional 20-minute stoppages.

I-66 East from Monument Drive to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road)
Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Thursday, Jan. 30: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road.

I-66 East from West Ox Road to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road)
Friday, Jan. 31: 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road and Route 123. Drivers should expect slowdowns and occasional 20-minute stoppages.

I-66 East from Monument Drive to Waples Mill Road
Saturday, Feb. 1: 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road.

ROUTE 123 (CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD) / OAKTON – CITY OF FAIRFAX
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road)
Monday, Jan. 27: Midnight to 4 a.m.
The ramp will be closed to implement a new traffic pattern for construction of the new interchange. Drivers will be detoured farther west to Route 50 East, stay to the left for I-66 East, then follow signs to Route 123 North or South.

Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) North and South between Eaton Place and White Granite Drive
Monday, Jan. 27: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
A single lane will be closed on northbound and southbound Route 123 to implement a new traffic pattern for construction of the new interchange.

I-66 West from Blake Lane to Route 50
Monday, Jan. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 30: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road. Drivers should expect slowdowns and occasional 20-minute stoppages.

I-66 East from Monument Drive to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road)
Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Thursday, Jan. 30: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road.

I-66 East from West Ox Road to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road)
Friday, Jan. 31: 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed for overhead bridge demolition at Waples Mill Road and Route 123. Drivers should expect slowdowns and occasional 20-minute stoppages.

Ramp from Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) North to I-66 East
Friday, Jan. 31: Midnight to 4 a.m.
The ramp will be closed for crews to install concrete barrier. Drivers will be directed to continue farther north on Route 123, turn left at the traffic signal to I-66 West, take the exit for Route 50 East, then stay to the left and follow signs to I-66 East.

ROUTE 243 (NUTLEY STREET) / VIENNA
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

I-495 (CAPITAL BELTWAY) / DUNN LORING
Ramp from I-66 East to I-495 South Express Lanes
Tuesday, Jan. 28, through Friday, Jan. 31: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The ramp from I-66 East to the 495 Express Lanes South will be closed for utility work. Drivers will be directed to the I-495 South general-purpose lanes.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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Virginia Beer Museum marks 4 years of celebrating state’s brewing history

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On Saturday, September 19, the Virginia Beer Museum cut the cake on its fourth anniversary of lauding, not only the Commonwealth’s current barley crop of crafted beers, but noted Virginians like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s contributions to Virginia and the American colonies history of brewing their way right up to independence.

Virginia Beer Museum proprietor David Downes gets ready to cut the 4th Anniversary cake with the assistance of Helltown Saloon barkeep Winter Leigh, right, and Wendie Mather. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

And that’s something worth raising a glass of fine Virginia-brewed beer to – the museum’s fourth and America’s history of a march toward “all men created equal” under the law celebrated every 4th – of July. Keep the faith in that march, kids – someday.

The appropriately named Play the Changes band mixed classic rock covers and original material to an enthusiastic crowd spanning a several generation gap that appeared to agree that BEER was the vote to make, at least for those of age that Saturday evening in Historic Downtown Front Royal, Virginia.

Musical entertainment was provided by Play the Changes, above on stage; and below between sets sporting their new ‘Vote BEER’ T-shirts. For those interested, Downes ‘BEER Party’ platform is: Better government Encouraging cooperation Emphasizing non-partisan politics Responsible government.

Check the band out on its Facebook page and website.

And check the Virginia Beer Museum out on Facebook and at its website.

Play the Changes played to an appreciative audience, largely gathered under the big top as the sun set toward some plummeting crisp, Fall temperatures. Get near those space heaters!

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Another 5-year wait for essential bridge over Rockland Road railroad crossing in Warren County

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A long-awaited overpass needed to help emergency services, fire trucks and ambulances react to urgent 911 calls may become a reality, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) – but not until 2015, if then.

In a presentation to the Rotary Club of Front Royal, September 18, Ed Carter, a VDOT official with an office in Edinburg, estimated a fall construction date starting in 2023 which should see the bridge opening in the spring of 2025 – a date that will be 25 years in the making.

According to Rotarian and former Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley in a telephone exchange last year, it had been 20 years since problems with the railroad companies first surfaced, but then, complaints were scarce. In the past several years, however, rail traffic has increased to the extent that traffic holdups at some crossings have been reported to range to an hour, if not longer.

Another five years before we’re past this? Public Domain Photo <publicdomainpictures.net>

In addition to emergency service inaccessibility, another effect of increased train traffic for residents of the area is the wait for drivers who need to be downtown or elsewhere to keep doctors and dentists appointments, veterinarian treatments for sick animals, or other scheduled meetings – even shoppers are becoming more irritated by the train crossing barriers coming down.

While describing the noticeable increase in train traffic and the length of many trains, some requiring two and three locomotives to pull and/or push heavier loads, Carter suggested some of the complaints may be overblown – “when sitting waiting, four minutes might seem like an hour.” (see editor’s note at story’s conclusion)

The railroad companies estimate a top waiting time of about 15 minutes. Carter also blamed the current installation of “third rails” for the extra train traffic that have added to the cost of a bridge.

The original estimate for the overpass was $15.5 million, which effectively is in the bank; and pre-construction work has begun. However, the railroad companies’ “third rail” has added almost $6 million to the project, and all that extra money is not yet in hand.

“(Residents) are going to have to put up with train blockages for quite a while longer,” Carter said, adding that a public hearing on the project is slated for the spring of next year.

The estimated 200-foot long bridge, two lanes (24-feet) wide, will “straighten out the two curves on the Rockland Road approach. He also observed that the bridge would be “quite high.”

Answering a question, Carter said trucks will be fed on to the relatively narrow country road, up to and including the size of tractor trailers. A questioner suggested that two trucks coming along the road in separate directions may not be able to pass one another without one pulling over.

Another Rotarian observed that there are already distinctive marks on either side of the road where mostly cars apparently have run off the road in passing from opposite directions.

While announcing that preparations for bridge construction had already begun despite the wait for extra (federal/state) funds, he described initial problems where underground caverns “close to the right of way” had been discovered and were a concern to engineering crews.

Carter, answering another question, said it would help if drivers held up for long periods would call the sheriff’s office for the record, suggesting that “we cannot control the railroads which got the right of way… many years ago” but observing that record-keeping of delays would be helpful in future discussions.


(Editor’s note: While driving to his Rockland home following the Rotary meeting, the writer was held up by a train at the Rockland Road crossing for a measured four minutes. “It seemed like an hour,” he confirmed.)

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Statewide teen seat belt challenge launches “Buckle Up” design contest and free traffic safety kits

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SALEM, VA — Students, schools, and youth groups across Virginia are kicking off a statewide campaign this week to increase seat belt usage rates among teens and youth.

Through a new, virtual format, the five‐week campaign, Drive for Change: Buckle Up and Slow Down will encourage youth and teens to develop a lifelong buckle up habit by reminding them that seat belts are their best defense against injury and death in a crash. In 2019, 65 teens aged 15-20 were killed in crashes in Virginia and of those teens, 56% were not wearing seat belts. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 2020 preliminary data reveals 37 teens have been killed on Virginia’s roadways from January 1 through August 31, 2020 and of those, 19 (59%) were unbelted.

“The simple step of buckling a seat belt saves lives but, sadly, we are seeing an increase in the percentage of unrestrained teens killed in crashes in Virginia this year,” said Mary King, YOVASO Program Manager. “Through the ‘Drive for Change’ campaign, we are challenging our teens to change that statistic by influencing and encouraging each other to always buckle up. We hope every teen in Virginia will join the campaign and use their creativity to help save lives.”

In addition to buckling up, the campaign will also address speed prevention which remains a key factor in all fatal crashes involving a young driver with approximately half of fatal teen crashes being caused by excessive speed.

As part of the campaign, Virginia students ages 11-20 will be encouraged to participate in the #DriveForChange Sticker Design Contest by designing a sticker/decal with a buckle up and/or slow down message that will influence youth and teens to wear their seat belt and follow posted speed limits. The winning design will be selected by popular vote on social media during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18-24) and announced on October 23. Prizes will be awarded for the top five designs with first place receiving $100, having their artwork produced as a sticker for YOVASO’s 2021 Arrive Alive campaign, and will also receive 100 stickers to share with his/her friends. The other four finalists will receive $25. Contest Guidelines can be found online at www.yovaso.org/driveforchange.

Students may also participate in the campaign by registering for a #DriveForChange kit that includes driver and passenger safety resources, project ideas, and other fun items! Additional options for schools, youth groups, and parents to get involved can be explored on YOVASO’s website.

Drive for Change: Buckle Up and Slow Down is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles with additional funding from State Farm, which supports prizes and educational incentives and materials.

“State Farm’s primary goal is to keep drivers safe behind the wheel,” said State Farm spokesperson Kate Beadle. “This campaign is a creative reminder to young drivers to always wear seat belts and obey the speed limit. With these actions, the number of accidents, serious injuries and deaths will be reduced.”


For more information or to register for free campaign materials for your school or youth group, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at 540-739-4392 or visit yovaso.org.

Schools and Youth Groups participating in the 2020 Drive for Change: Buckle Up and Slow Down campaign:

  • Auburn Middle School, Montgomery Co.
  • Bristol’s Promise, Washington Co.
  • Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt Co.
  • Eastern Montgomery High School, Montgomery Co.
  • Fluvanna County High School, Fluvanna Co.
  • Forest Middle School, Bedford Co.
  • Galileo Magnet High School, Danville City
  • George Wythe High School, Richmond City
  • Heritage High School, Newport News City
  • Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke Co.
  • Jefferson Forest High School, Bedford Co.
  • L.C. Bird High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Liberty High School, Bedford Co.
  • Louisa County High School, Louisa Co.
  • Louisa County Middle School, Louisa Co.
  • Luray High School, Page Co.
  • Mallory’s Movement Against Drunk Driving, Chesterfield Co.
  • Narrows High School, Giles co.
  • Page County High School, Page Co.
  • Randolph-Henry High School, Charlotte Co.
  • REACH Homeschool Group, Orange Co.
  • Rockbridge County High School, Rockbridge Co.
  • Walker-Grant Middle School, Stafford Co.
  • Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth City
  • William Byrd High School, Roanoke Co.

Students are also participating from the following schools and universities:

  • Beverley Manor Middle School, Augusta Co.
  • Breckinridge Middle School, Roanoke City
  • Bridgeway Academy, Chesapeake City
  • Broadwater Academy, Northampton Co.
  • Broadway High School, Rockingham Co.
  • Brooke Point High School, Stafford Co.
  • Centerville High School, Fairfax Co.
  • Christiansburg High School
  • Christopher Newport University
  • Colgan High School, Prince William Co.
  • Dinwiddie County High School, Dinwiddie Co.
  • Floyd County High school, Floyd Co.
  • George Wythe High School, Wythe Co.
  • Glenvar High School, Roanoke Co.
  • Graham High School, Tazewell Co.
  • Hanover County High School, Hanover Co.
  • James Madison University
  • John I Burton High School, Norton City
  • John P. Fishwick Middle School, Roanoke City
  • Jouett Elementary School, Louisa Co.
  • King George High School, King George Co.
  • Lancaster High School, Lancaster Co.
  • Menchville High School, Newport News City
  • Milboro Elementary School, Bath Co.
  • Monacan High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • North Stafford High School, Stafford Co.
  • Oak Knoll Middle School, Hanover Co.
  • Park View High School, Mecklenburg Co.
  • Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke City
  • Penn Foster High School, King George Co.
  • Prices Fork Elementary, Montgomery Co.
  • Radford High School, Montgomery Co.
  • Rodney Thompson Middle School, Stafford Co.
  • Salem High School, Salem City
  • South County High School, Fairfax Co.
  • Staunton River High School, Bedford Co.
  • Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta Co.
  • Tabb High School, York Co.
  • William Campbell Combined School, Campbell Co.
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LFCC launches new podcast series “LFCC Stories”

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Just in time for LFCC’s 50th anniversary, the college is launching its first-ever podcast series.

“LFCC Stories” will feature LFCC students, alumni and professors sharing their inspiring and heartwarming real-life stories.

“The podcast gives those who make LFCC such a special place – our students, former students and our faculty – the chance to share their stories in a more in-depth and intimate way than they have ever been able to do before,” says Marketing Director Brandy Boies, who is spearheading the project. “We have had so many amazing people walk through our doors, and this is a great opportunity to share their experiences and successes – and challenges – with a wider audience.”

Janet Michael, an experienced interviewer who hosts The Valley Today on The River 95.3 and owns Java Media, is hosting the podcast for LFCC.

You can find the podcast by searching “LFCC Stories” on Apple Podcast or Spotify, or listen online by clicking on the podcast link at the bottom of the LFCC homepage, lfcc.edu.

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Crime/Court

Former Winchester attorney charged with embezzlement, forgery

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CULPEPER, VA – A former Winchester based attorney has been indicted on felony charges related to an ongoing investigation into his business practices.  On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a Winchester County grand jury handed up one felony count of embezzlement, and two felony counts of forgery charges against Travis J. Tisinger, 53, of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania.

The charges stem from an investigation the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office initiated in May 2019 related to Tisinger withholding a client’s $8000 settlement and forging signatures.

According to the Winchester Star, Tisinger’s license to practice law was suspended by the Virginia BAR in 2018 for not providing requested records.

The investigation was referred to VSP from the Winchester Police Department.

Tisinger turned himself into state police Thursday, September 17, 2020, at the RSW Regional Jail and went before the magistrate who released him on bond.

The investigation remains ongoing at this time.

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WCPS starts new school year staring down COVID-19 related challenges

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) from starting off the 2020-2021 academic year, although some issues did crop up during the first week, according to WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger.

“It was a good start; we did have some challenges,” Ballenger told Warren County School Board members during their Wednesday, September 16 meeting. “But we had a good start considering the situation that we’re in with this pandemic.”

On day one at the elementary schools, for instance, Ballenger said there were some long lines getting parents through, as well as a few backups and traffic congestion on some roads. But he explained that such issues were simply due to it being the first day of school, and “of getting everybody in and being able to make sure we got them to where they were going, and getting the buses in, and getting the buses sanitized so that they could go do their next run.”

“But when you entered the buildings and you saw the interactions of the teachers and the students… you could see the students smiling underneath their masks,” said Ballenger. “It was nice to see the students there, and they wanted to be there.”

For virtual learners, technology challenges took precedent on their first day, the superintendent said, but the WCPS Technology Department worked quickly to rectify the issues, which were partly due to en masse sign-ons to the school division’s network — basically an online traffic jam of sorts.

Ballenger said that during the first week of school, WCPS corrected, made changes, and streamlined processes to solve the challenges. “Schools are getting that cycle going, so, we’re moving in some positive directions,” he said. “We still have some issues, but we will continue to address those.”

WCPS Technology Director Timothy Grant — who received a round of applause from Ballenger, the School Board, and WCPS Central Office staff for the work he and his team have accomplished to get the school year going — reported that more than 2,200 Chromebooks and tablets are expected to arrive “any day now,” and once delivered, they will be configured and deployed as soon as possible to the schools for student use.

All WCPS virtual learners have received their laptops and tablets, Grant said, adding that new parts have just come in “so we’re repairing all the Chromebooks that had some problems.”

At the same time, the WCPS Technology Help Desk has been very busy. “I can’t tell you how many calls we get, but it’s busy. It’s ringing all the time,” said Grant. “All [6] of our techs are on the help desk until it settles down.”

Technology staff also have deployed 60 hot spots around Warren County, with most of them being used in the Browntown and Bentonville areas. Grant said WCPS still has 30 more hot spots to configure that will provide teachers and students with free internet access for virtual learning.

Grant also said the tech staff is working diligently “to stay ahead of the curve” on security, and thus far has not experienced any breaches on the WCPS network and will continue to regularly monitor the network.

“I know you’ve worked a lot of hours and I think I can speak for the board — we all greatly appreciate the effort that you and your team put in to keep everybody up and running, so thank you very much,” said School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr.

WCPS Assistant Superintendent Melody Sheppard updated School Board members on how WCPS transportation, food services, and custodial services fared during the first week of school.

Along with new bus runs, for example, WCPS transportation employees yesterday started delivering seven-days-worth of free school meals (breakfast and lunch) at its summer stops around the County. Some 850 students on Wednesday received meals, which will continue to be delivered through December 31 unless the program gets extended, Sheppard said.

“We’ll adjust if we need to,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure all of our students are eating.”

Additionally, more custodial employees are now working day-time hours to regularly wipe down high-touch surfaces throughout the school day, said Sheppard.

WCPS Special Services Director Michael Hirsch said that school health and wellness efforts have been followed diligently by WCPS staff and families, who have adhered to daily pre-screening and other health checklist items. “It’s been crucial for ensuring students are healthy before they enter school,” he said.

During the School Board’s work session portion of its meeting, Ballenger also provided a school enrollment update as it pertains to the WCPS budget, noting that the current population of 4,957 students is down by 60 students.

Once the school district contacts these 60 students, the population could increase to 5,017 students, which is still lower than what the current WCPS budget is based on of 5,202 students. This would reduce the district’s budget by $916,886, Ballenger reported.

“In this year’s budget, we have a contingency of around $531,366 so right now we are looking at what we need to do as far as financials,” he said. “We do have a lot of things on hold. We’re still trying to find those students.”

Currently, Ballenger also said that there are 89 students total who attended WCPS last year who now are under home instruction status, which removes them from WCPS rolls, also consequently impacting the budget. While some of these 89 students may physically return to school once the buildings open back up, “we don’t know when that may be,” said Ballenger.

At the same time, because WCPS now operates a hybrid-learning model consisting of in-person and virtual education, some numbers of students may be recovered at the high school and middle school levels once they work out scheduling, Ballenger said. “Principals and schools are calling and making contact with students that have not shown up yet to see where they are at,” the superintendent said.

To watch the entire School Board meeting, watch the Royal Examiner video.

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Front Royal
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