It's a first day of school like no other: Many students in the D.C. area began a new school year Monday with all-online learning.
The day wasn't without its tech troubles. A major website used by Charles County Public Schools students briefly went down Monday morning, and Prince George’s County Public Schools reported "isolated technological problems with Zoom" that have now been resolved. D.C. Public Schools and Frederick and Montgomery County Schools, among others, also began classes Monday.
Meanwhile, cases of coronavirus are rising among the civil servants and police officers who serve on Capitol Hill. A union official said at least 41 U.S. Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the virus since March. Though many have returned to work, at least 60 employees remain on administrative leave due to possible exposure or illnesses, according to records released by a U.S. House committee. Cases are also rising among contractors and civil servants who work for the architect of the Capitol.
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What the Data Shows
While there were no extreme jumps in cases reported in the D.C. region Monday, there are indications that new COVID-19 cases are trending upward in Virginia.
The data shows that Greater Northern Virginia has little to do with the increase, but rather the rest of the state is to blame for the surge.
The Greater NoVA region is currently averaging 296 new cases each day, down three cases from last week. In the rest of the state, however, seven-day averages have surged from 588 cases last week to 699 cases on Monday.
In D.C., average daily cases (52) and daily hospitalizations (70) have remained stable.
Cases in Maryland have declined steadily over the past two weeks. Maryland reported a seven-day average of 511 cases today, down from 565 a week ago and 637 two weeks ago.
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
- 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.
- D.C.'s Department of Health put out an updated list of high-risk states with travel restrictions Thursday, and Delaware is no longer on the list. Read more.
- Virginians on unemployment will get an extra $300 on top of what the state pays out. Read more.
- Special needs students are among the first groups who should get in-person instruction, Fairfax County school officials say. Read more.
- The federal government has started sending new COVID-19 testing systems to nursing homes around the country in hopes that the rapid results provided by antigen tests will slow the spread of the virus. Long-term care facilities certainly welcome that assistance, but some have major concerns about those tests. Get the News4 I-Team report.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday 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 both affirmed that they are not altering plans to have all-online school 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 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.
- Maryland entered phase two of reopening on June 10, permitting indoor dining, outdoor pools and outside amusements to reopen.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- 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.
Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report