Virginia is shifting the way it has residents pre-register for their COVID-19 vaccines: The state is launching a singular portal everyone can use to pre-register on Tuesday.
“The statewide vaccine pre-registration system will provide a unified and comprehensive process for people in Virginia to pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Virginia Department of Health said in a press release.
Local health departments were directed to close their pre-registration sites at 5 p.m. Friday in advance of the transition. Residents will be able to start pre-registering for vaccines again Tuesday when the new site launches.
If you already pre-registered, you don’t need to take action, VDH says. Waitlists will be automatically imported to the new systems.
Remote Students Are More Stressed Than Their Peers in the Classroom, Study Finds
Students who learned in a virtual setting said they were more stressed about school than students who were in the classroom full time or part time, a new study from NBC News and Challenge Success found.
The survey was conducted last fall and included more than 10,000 students in 12 U.S. high schools.
Eighty-four percent of remote students reported exhaustion, headaches, insomnia or other stress-related ailments, compared to 82 percent of students who were in the classroom on some days and 78 percent of students who were in the classroom full time.
What to Know About the CDC's New School Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines that could shape the effort to get kids back in the classroom.
The agency has put out a color-coded system for reopening.
Blue and yellow designations are for communities that have low to moderate transmission of COVID-19. For those in a blue or yellow zone, the CDC recommends full in-person learning with as much social distancing as possible.
In orange zones — areas with substantial transmission —hybrid learning, and reduced attendance is a safer option.
Red marks the highest transmission zones. In red districts without regular testing, the CDC says fully virtual learning could come into play but only for middle and high schoolers.
Prince George's County is expected to announce its reopening dates within days.
Montgomery County will reopen schools to a small group of students on March 1, with the vast majority heading back to class March 15.
In Virginia, Loudoun County starts its hybrid learning model Tuesday.
Prince William starts phasing back in on Feb. 23.
Arlington begins phasing new grade levels back every week, starting March 2.
Fairfax County heads back on March 16 under a hybrid model.
D.C. is also opening more of its schools to hybrid learning, and Mayor Muriel Bowser said she wants charter schools to follow suit.
The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.
Virginia Democrats Make Push on Return to In-Person School
Virginia House Democrats unveiled legislation Monday morning that would require public school districts to offer at least some access to in-person learning by the 2021-2022 school year.
The bill, which has the support of House leadership and Gov. Ralph Northam, says districts must provide either full in-person instruction or a combination of in-person and virtual instruction to each student. It would also require that all teachers and school staff have the chance to get a vaccine before the start of the next school year and would offer a fully virtual option for families who want one.
Montgomery County's Loosened Restrictions Began Sunday
Limited indoor dining resumed in Montgomery County early Sunday, Valentine’s Day.
Restaurants may now operate at up to 25% capacity, with a 90-minute time limit. Alcohol sales will be suspended at 10 p.m., masks are required, and only six people are allowed at each table.
Montgomery County had been the only jurisdiction in Maryland that still did not allow indoor dining.
The rate of new COVID-19 cases has fallen, but officials say there’s still a very high risk of transmission.
What the Data Shows
D.C. announced Monday another 83 COVID-19 cases and one life lost. Hospitalizations in D.C. are down to 196.
Maryland announced 722 new cases and 26 more deaths. Hospitalizations in the state dropped by more than 50 to 1,113 – the lowest reported count since November.
Virginia announced 1,056 more cases and four additional deaths. A total of 1,641 confirmed COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Virginia, 25 fewer than on Sunday.
In our region, seven-day averages fell to 124 in D.C., 1,022 in Maryland and 2,077 in Virginia.
Vaccination Portals by County
As vaccinations in our region ramp up, here's a look at local portals residents can use to sign up for vaccination appointments or sign up to receive alerts.
- Washington, D.C. signups– vaccinate.dc.gov
- Maryland signups – www.marylandvax.org/ and covidvax.maryland.gov
- Virginia information – www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
- Montgomery County – www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
- Prince George's County – www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/COVID-19-Vaccination
- Howard County – www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/MM-Alerts-and-Recalls/COVID-19-Vaccine
- Anne Arundel County – aahealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-faq/
- Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine
- City of Alexandria – www.alexandriava.gov/health/info/default.aspx?id=119270
- Loudoun County – www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine
- Prince William County – coronavirus.pwcgov.org/vaccine-information/ & VDH
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- NBC News is making finding information on when, how and where to obtain your coronavirus vaccination easier with its Plan Your Vaccine website.
- Medical schools across the country report a spike in applications, especially from students of color. At Georgetown University’s medical school, applications are up 24% overall and 40% from underrepresented minorities. The University of Maryland along with Howard University have also seen a rising number of applicants.
- The Maryland General Assembly has passed a pandemic relief measure that will deliver more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for low-income families and small businesses.
- The first case of a COVID-19 variant from South Africa was diagnosed in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
- Health officials confirmed Maryland's first case of COVID-19 caused by the new variant first identified in South Africa, then another two cases in Montgomery County residents.
- Many D.C. restaurant workers who already were coping with the safety hazards and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic also are facing increased sexual harassment, a report from a labor organization says.
- Face masks are now required in all National Park Service buildings, and on land maintained by the Park Service when physical distancing is not possible, federal officials announced.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says school districts should resume in-person learning by March 1 or face legal action, which the state teacher's union says is a threat to educators.
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam directed all schools to offer in-person classes by March 15, saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other leaders say it's possible to reopen safely.
- The Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to bring all students back in-person for hybrid learning by March 16.
- D.C. lifted its ban on indoor dining, but libraries and recreation centers are still closed.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed because of rising COVID-19 cases.
- Courts throughout Maryland remain partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
How to Stay Safe
Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk:
- Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.