April 17, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

As we approach the end of the third week of Governor Northam’s Stay at Home order, frustrations and challenges mount. But as always, there are good things happening as well! This week’s most significant frustration is the failed rollout of FCPS’s online instruction. Our kids and parents rightfully expected a week of learning and reconnecting with classmates and teachers. Instead they got a glitchy system beset by anonymous users and some students sharing inappropriate material. That’s unacceptable. 

While the Board of Supervisors is not directly responsible for FCPS operations, as a county leader I accept my share of the responsibility. We have to do better. The School Board met yesterday and there is a plan to address the issues so that distance learning can truly begin on Monday.  Our Braddock School Board Member Megan McLaughlin is pushing hard to get these issues resolved to ensure a successful week of distance learning beginning Monday. 

As of this morning, there are 1,478 positive cases of coronavirus and 37 deaths in Fairfax County. Our Health Department is developing a dashboard that will provide more detailed demographic and geographic information here . The goal is to be as transparent as possible while protecting patient privacy. 

As more data becomes available, I want to encourage everyone to continue to follow Governor Northam’s Stay at Home order and physical distancing guidelines. The virus knows no neighborhood or zip code boundary and is in every part of the county and region. The dashboard might show, for example, that some zip codes have far fewer cases than others. Remember that those are only the cases we know about and reflect the home addresses of individuals testing positive, not where they might have contracted the virus.
On the good news front, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter now has their virtual adoption process up and running! You can learn how it works here . Cleo is available for adoption today! She’s an 11-month old hound with tons of energy who needs a family with some time on their hands to give her some structure and obedience training. 

Continue reading for more information on:

  • A Message From Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin
  • Watch The Braddock District Virtual Budget Town Hall 
  • Fairfax County's New Small Business Microloan Program
  • Congressman Gerry Connolly's High School Art Competition
  • Fairfax County Parkway Design Approval
  • Delayed Federal COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments
  • Health Department's Response to Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Department of Family Service's New Parent Help Line
  • NVCC's new Jumpstart Program for Graduating and Rising Seniors
Yours in Service,
Supervisor James Walkinshaw
Message from Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin
Dear Braddock District Community, 

As many families and residents are aware, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) rolled out its Distance Learning Program on Tuesday, which includes direct, online instruction. Regrettably, FCPS students and teachers encountered a number of unexpected technology challenges on the first day. This caused Superintendent Brabrand to halt online instruction until next Monday. In the interim, FCPS’ Information Technology Department (IT) is working closely with its outside vendor to remedy these issues.

As your School Board Member, I want to first apologize on behalf of our school system. Like so many in Fairfax County, my husband and I chose to raise our family here because of its premiere school system. This week’s missteps are simply unacceptable and as your School Board Member, I share your disappointment and frustration. FCPS can and must do better.

One of the School Board’s primary responsibilities is to hold Superintendent Brabrand accountable for FCPS’ day to day operations, which includes the development and implementation of the COVID-19 Distance Learning program. Please be assured that my colleagues and I are very concerned about what has transpired, and we immediately held a 3 hour "virtual" public work session with him yesterday to discuss the problems and the pending solutions. The Board will continue to review this matter in greater detail to determine what additional accountability measures are needed. At a minimum, there needs to be an external, independent review of FCPS’ IT operations. 

As your elected representative to the School Board, I am deeply committed to ensuring continuous improvement within FCPS. Your community input is vital to this effort, so please keep me apprised of any concerns you may have.

In humble service,


Megan O. McLaughlin
School Board Member
Braddock District
Miss the Budget Town Hall?
Thank you to those who participated in The Braddock District Virtual Budget Town Hall. Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin, Fairfax County Chief Financial Officer Joe Mondoro, and I covered issues related to our public schools, trash and yard waste, helping the most vulnerable in our community, and more. It was great to hear your questions and feedback. If you were unable to watch, you can still watch the recorded video and email or call in your questions.
Small Business Microloan Program
Fairfax County has established a $2.5 million fund to support small businesses through micro loans and counseling. The Fairfax County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund will provide eligible businesses up to $20,000 at 0% interest that can be used for critical operating expenses to offset some of the impacts of the shutdown. It will also assist businesses in identifying optimal federal or local programs where additional relief may be available. Applications will be accepted starting April 28th.

Through an existing partnership with the County, the Community Business Partnership (CBP) will administer the program and target assistance to businesses that are not able to access federal support, due to immigration status or lack of an established banking relationship for example.The microloans will be available through the CBP to “for profit” businesses with one or more commercial locations in Fairfax County, including the principal place of business. Applicants must have less than 50 employees, been in business for 2+ years and possess a valid Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) to qualify. Loans can be used to cover working capital, equipment, rent, debt payments and other operating expenses.

In addition to helping businesses get back on (or stay on) their feet, Fairfax County’s goal is to get as many companies as possible educated on the funding options available to them. Click here for more information.
2020 Congressional Art Competition
Congressman Gerry Connolly invites high school students to participate in this year's Congressional Art Competition in Virginia's 11th District.

Students who submit entries in this year's 2020 Congressional Art Competition have an opportunity to showcase their unique talents, style, and technique. The winning piece will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for one year; Second place entry will be exhibited at the Workhouse Arts Gallery for a year, and with the permission of the artists, additional high-ranking pieces will be displayed in Congressman Connolly's Capitol Hill and district offices.

The deadline to submit entries is Friday, May 8.
Fairfax County Parkway Project
At Tuesday's meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved the design plans for the Fairfax County Parkway widening, including a grade separated interchange at Popes Head Road that will also include an interchange for the planned extension of Shirley Gate Rd from Braddock Rd. to the Parkway. While this project lies entirely within the Springfield District, it will help Braddock District commuters by diverting 12,000 cars per day from the Braddock Rd./123 intersection.

Further south on the Parkway, we are protecting access to Burke Centre Parkway with a time-restricted left turn prohibition in effect only during the morning rush hour. This is a change from the original plan based on feedback from the Burke Centre community.

You can learn more about the project here.
COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments
Many Fairfax county residents have questions related to their Economic Impact Payments authorized by H.R. 748, The CARES Act. The IRS has launched a COVID-19 Economic Payment FAQ list for questions you may have on eligibility, expected payment amount, and more. Click here to visit the FAQ website.

Unfortunately payments will be significantly delayed for those who do not have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, especially seniors. There may also be additional delays related to the unprecedented decision to have the President's name printed on the checks.

In addition, The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS have created a new non-filer tool that makes it easy to register to receive your Economic Impact Payment.

if you were not required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, or earned less than $12,000, click here to learn more.
Health Department's Response to Long-Term Care Facilities
Like other parts of the state and nation, COVID-19 cases continue to affect residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the Fairfax Health District. With the risk of infections spreading in congregate settings and the vulnerability of the residents, preventing and responding to COVID-19 in long-term care is a priority for the Health Department.

Below are the steps the Health Department is taking to to protect long-term care facilities.

Reducing Risk

  • Health Department outreach to nursing homes begins before a COVID-19 case occurs. Guidance is provided to facilities on steps to take immediately to reduce the risk of a case occurring. These include restricting visitors, monitoring residents and staff for illness, providing education about preventive behaviors such as social distancing and hand washing, canceling group activities, providing therapy in resident rooms and enhancing environmental disinfection.

  • Staff are advised to wear face masks and strongly recommended to not work at more than one facility. Public health nurses visit facilities to observe their infection prevention and work with leadership to identify materials or training needs.

Support When a Case Occurs

  • If a case does occur, engagement and support is ramped-up to reduce the risk of infection being transmitted. An experienced communicable disease physician or nurse provides additional guidance regarding isolation of infected persons and quarantine of contacts, identifies whether others are ill and may need testing, provides recommendations for additional protective equipment use by staff and reviews implementation of the guidance already provided.

  • A Rapid Response Team is dispatched to the facility, including nurses and an environmental health specialist to provide training in the use of personal protective equipment and ensure that N-95 masks fit properly.

  • A nurse also visits the facility daily to identify additional needs, ensure that measures to prevent infections are being rigorously applied, and to review whether anyone with symptoms needs to be tested.
Department of Family Services Parent Support Line
Fairfax County Department of Family Services has created a new Parent Support line staffed with members of the child abuse prevention team who will assist parents and caregivers looking for resources or who have parenting questions. 

Spanish-speaking team members are available and other languages will be supported. 

Contact the Parent Support line at (703) 324-7720, Monday - Friday, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. beginning Monday, April 20.
NVCC Tuition-Free Online Courses
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is using institutional dollars from the Federal stimulus to launch a new summer schedule of tuition-free online classes for approximately 70,000 qualified Northern Virginia high school students. This is an opportunity for rising seniors through graduating seniors to JumpStart their summers and earn college credit by attending up to two online courses that will run from June 1 to July 15.

The online courses available have been selected because they fulfill not only NOVA degree requirements but also transfer to most colleges and universities. Also, in partnership with Amazon Web Services, the JumpStart offerings will include an online course in Cloud Computing, providing students with their first step onto an in demand local tech pathway.
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