The start of a most unusual school year will get a most unusual blessing on Sunday in the D.C. area: the blessing of the Chromebooks.
A pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Alexandria will bless the computers used for all-online school at an outdoor celebration Sunday evening. Families also are welcome to bring “an item from their desk/school working space to be blessed for the new school year" as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Alexandria City Public Schools starts virtual learning for students in kindergarten through 12th grade on Tuesday, after the Labor Day holiday. School also will start Tuesday in Arlington, Fairfax, Howard, Loudoun and Prince William counties, among others.
Here's where we stand with the virus in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as summer turns to fall.
What the Data Shows
Another 41 cases of the virus were announced Sunday in D.C. This holds about steady with the daily number of new cases in the past week. No additional deaths were announced.
Maryland added 512 cases. This falls below the recent daily average of new cases. Another three people died of the virus.
Virginia added 1,126 cases. This is higher than we’ve seen in about the past week. One more death was announced.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 1,000 residents.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Maryland entered phase three of reopening Friday, but several counties say they aren't prepared to move forward yet. Read more.
- Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been targeted by scammers during the pandemic, likely including one family who had a strange experience after listing their home for sale. Read the News4 I-Team report.
- Virginia lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation aimed at making absentee voting easier. Here's what to know.
- Public tours of the White House, halted nearly six months ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, are set to resume later this month with new health and safety policies in place. Read more.
- People collecting unemployment insurance in the D.C. region soon will begin seeing the extra $300 President Donald Trump promised — some sooner than others. Read more.
- D.C. Public Schools are seeing a 70% drop in vaccinations among students. Here's more information.
- James Madison University will move primarily to online learning after hundreds of students were diagnosed with COVID-19 less than two weeks after students returned to campus. Read more.
- Dozens of inmates at a West Virginia prison have tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said. Read more.
- Ocean City is postponing plans to re-deck its iconic boardwalk because of a lumber shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Read more.
- Arlington County police have begun enforcing social distancing in the nightlife area of Clarendon. Read more.
- Montgomery and Prince George's counties are among those that won't enter phase three with the state of Maryland. Here's a roundup of counties in our area.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he has authorized all public schools in the state to begin “safely” reopening because state metrics on the coronavirus show improvements. The state “strongly suggests” that local school districts bring students back into schools but cannot force them to do so, Hogan said. Montgomery and Prince George's schools have both affirmed that they are not altering plans to host classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Private and parochial schools in Maryland can choose when to reopen after a back-and-forth between county health officials and the governor. Read more.
- Prince George's County revisited its phase two reopening executive order due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to the county executive's office.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening on July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam has said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- Prince George's County entered full phase two on June 23, allowing the MGM Casino and gyms to reopen.
- D.C. entered phase two on June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two on June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report
Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US
These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.
The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.
Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Visuals by Amy O’Kruk/NBC, data analysis by Ron Campbell/NBC