Happenings from the Homefront 6/16/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

We need our kids back in school five days a week in the fall. Period. The Virginia Beach Public School Superintendent sent out an email last week stating they are considering a two-day per week in-person learning structure with the other days offered digitally. As a mother of four school aged children in three different schools, I’m here to tell you that digital learning is no replacement for in-person education. We can get our kids back in school and we CAN do it safely. Our children are suffering academically and psychologically and we are sitting by idly while it happens waiting for loose guidance yet again from the Governor. Not only are children suffering in homes with less than ideal caregiving situations, food insecurities, or diminished wifi access, but we have also taken away their support systems of teachers, coaches, and friends.

There are many mixed messages out there. The governor mandates that we wear masks inside buildings and that we follow strict random rules at the beach, but he is not giving solid guidance to our localities about the number of days our children will attend school in the fall. At this point we are doing more harm than good by keeping our children isolated. There have been ZERO deaths of children under the age of 20 from COVID-19 statewide since the onset of this pandemic. One of my solutions is to patron a bill to have a certified school nurse be present in every school in our Commonwealth. I need parents to feel that their children are safe and for faculty and staff to feel protected in order for some normalcy to return to our children’s lives. Now I need the Governor to call the General Assembly into special session to allow us to enact legislation and to do our jobs.

I watch what is going on in our country and I am frustrated. I hear and see those of us who push for change, but I also see a new form of discrimination against our law enforcement officers who are not being given the credit, respect, and appreciation they deserve. Yes, there is room for improvement, but the disrespect and egregious actions toward our men and women in blue has been wrong. So many of our law enforcement officers are good, fair, and hard-working individuals that deserve recognition for being there when we call. There is no room for lawlessness in our country and we must ensure those who enforce the law are able to do their jobs properly and safely.

I hope you all have been able to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful warm weather that summer brings. Keep getting out, visiting local businesses, exercising, and planning summer vacations. Please continue to be mindful of the media’s messaging. With this being an election year, I find very opinionated and sided news both on television and in print. Watching that news with a critical eye allows us to decipher what is valid and what is propaganda. I encourage you all to critically watch all media messaging as well.

Thank you all for paying attention to state politics. I think we are all learning how much power some elected offices have and how important it is to elect good and commonsense leaders. Keep in touch! 

Stay well & take care-

CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!
🎉CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!! Wishing you good luck, good health, & all good things in the years to come! We are very proud of you!! 🎓🎉

Virginia Beach ranks as #1 safest large city in America, study shows

Click Here for Article

Small Business Recognition:
Special shout out to the employees of RK Chevrolet & RK Subaru in Virginia Beach for their active role in keeping their business open and safe for customers and staff. Their focus on COVID-19 sanitation, sterilization, and social distancing earned them a company award as a “RK Frontline Hero”, a medallion, & a reward check!

many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDClick the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!

COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today June 16th, 52,917 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,426 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 909 cases in Virginia Beach and 681 cases in Norfolk.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 
Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that Virginia will be moving into Phase 2, with the exception of Northern Virginia and Richmond, both of which will remain in Phase 1. 
See here for the full text of Executive Order 65, Phase 2 Easing of Temporary Restrictions due to COVID-19. See here for the Spanish translation.
See here for the Phase 2 Guidelines for all Business Sectors. See here for the Spanish translation.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

Virginia Beach City Treasurer’s Office Now Open With the Exception of the Lynnhaven Location
Virginia Beach, Va. (June 15, 2020) —​The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location. The Lynnhaven Office opening will coincide with the Planning Department’s opening, which has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily. 

Strict sanitizing guidelines to protect the public and employees have been implemented. Citizens will be asked to respect the 6 feet social distancing and face covering mandates that are still in effect. We strongly encourage citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax when possible.Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.

For more information please contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit: www.vbgov.com/treas

For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeachtwitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Public Beaches
Governor Northam announced that  public beaches would be allowed to reopen, provided that they follow the social distancing guidelines established in Virginia Beach: no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, no group sports.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Given the shutdown of most DMV locations, Governor Northam announced that anyone whose driver’s license is set to expire before July 31, 2020 will have until August 31, 2020 to renew it.

Temporary Moratorium on Evictions
At Governor Northam’s request, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons suspended all eviction proceedings through June 28. Details of the Governor’s rent relief initiative, supported by federal CARES Act funding, will be announced in the coming weeks. Tenants are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for more information and resources on tenant rights.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI

Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.
Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here
Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.

Donate Here