Governor Youngkin addresses teacher shortage

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s initiatives to address the statewide teacher shortage includes attempts to address learning loss.

An email from the Governor outlines his initiatives to address the teacher shortage as follows.

The directive includes expediting teaching and renewal licenses to let high quality teachers teach.

Create a no cost apprenticeship program that targets teacher recruitment and retention efforts in communities most in need.

Connect teachers with child care options and build the early childhood educator pipeline by training high school students to be childcare specialists.

The governor’s directive hopes to collect and provide accurate, timely data on teaching positions in hopes of gathering information on what is working for teachers and what isn’t working.

Youngkin hopes this method will better recruit and retain teachers and address shortage when they occur.

All those objectives were in the governor’s Executive Directive 3 signed last week.

The “Bridging the Gap” initiative also went into effect at the same time which provides individualized student data.

In theory, that will empower all involved to make the best decisions for the student.

This initiative will also ensure that students not on track have information to address learning gaps.

This “Bridging the Gap” initiative also hopes to provide comprehensive training to enable teachers to convey to parents and students academic shortfalls.

The Governor was at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County signing his Executive Directive last week.

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Youngkin announces Commission to Combat Antisemitism

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the new members of the Commission to Combat Antisemitism.

The Commission plans to study antisemitism in the state, propose actions to combat antisemitism and reduce the number of incidents.

They will also compile materials to provide assistance to educational entities in relation to antisemitism and its connection to the Holocaust.

The commission selected 19 new members after a selection process which began in February.

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Gov. Youngkin updates the COVID-19 action plan

An email from Governor Glenn Youngkin updates Virginia’s Covid-19 action plan.

The update includes efforts to offer additional vaccine events throughout the Commonwealth.

The governor also granted flexibilities  for health care workers and assisted living facilities staff as well.

In the governor’s words the recently signed Order 16 allows individuals to make decisions regarding their own health.

Click here for the update on the COVID-19 action plan for Virginia.

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Gov. Northam declares a state of emergency ahead of tonight’s 1/6 storm

An email form Governor Northam confirms that a state of emergency has been declared in advance of tonight’s Jan. 6 predicted inclement weather.

Virginians are urged to take precautions and prepare now for the possible storm before 6 p.m. tonight Jan. 6.

Power up mobile devices have blankets and warm clothing ready listen for local news and weather updates and avoid travel once the precipitation begins.

The Governor’s emergency declaration will help offset the expenses of the back to back storms.

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VA. candidates for governor wrap up their campaigns tonight

Early voting ended Saturday in Virginia and election day is tomorrow Nov. 2.

According ABC news a record number of early voters have already cast a ballot in record numbers.

Over 2 million Virginians have already voted according to ABC news.

Both candidates for Governor will wrap up their campaigns tonight Nov. 1.

Listed in alphabetical order.

Tonight Nov. 1 Terry McAuliffe will be wrapping up his campaign with various stops in Fairfax County.

Candidate Glenn Youngkin wraps up his campaign with stops in and around Loundon County tonight Nov. 1.

The polls open tomorrow Nov. 2 at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in accordance with state law.

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Northam order aims to speed up complex unemployment cases

extended benefits program

By Associated Press | Published May 19, 2021 7:10 a.m.

By SARAH RANKIN

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Following months of complaints from laid-off workers, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he was taking steps to expand the Virginia Employment Commission’s ability to process complex unemployment claims.

While data show Virginia has done quite well in quickly processing simple unemployment benefits for eligible individuals as applications surged amid the pandemic, the state has recently been dead last for timely processing of certain claims that require additional adjudication.

In a directive signed Tuesday, Northam wrote that “we must do more to ensure that Virginians’ unemployment benefit claims are resolved in a timely manner and that those who are eligible for benefits receive them quickly. VEC must have access to and mobilize additional staff and funding to carry out this critical role.”

The order directs the commission to increase the number of adjudications being processed per week from 5,700 to 10,000 by June 30, and to 20,000 by July 31.

In a news release, Northam’s office said that would be done in part by finalizing a $5 million contract for over 300 additional adjudication officers. The directive also tells the commission to work with the state’s human resources agency to identify non-VEC state workers who can temporarily assist.

It further orders the commission, which uses a 41-year-old benefits system, to complete a modernization project to launch a new system by October. And it directs the agency to hire staff and upgrade and enhance technology to improve call wait times.

Complaints from Virginians unable to get through to customer service call centers in a timely way — or at all — have been widespread over the past year.

The governor’s announcement came on the same day a judge was holding mediation talks in a federal lawsuit filed last month over the processing delays.

The lawsuit alleged the commission had violated the rights of Virginians who had either applied for benefits and gotten no response or who had their benefits abruptly halted and faced lengthy delays in having their case adjudicated.

Jeff Jones, a spokesman for the Legal Aid Justice Center, one of the firms representing the plaintiffs, said the parties had reached an agreement Tuesday, which the judge still must approve. If approved, he said the judge was expected to enter an order later in the week that would put the lawsuit on hold while the commission worked to meet the order’s terms.

“This is a really good step in the right direction,” he said.

Megan Healy, Northam’s chief workforce development advisor, said that while the legal process remained underway, the administration was hopeful for a positive outcome.

Asked if the changes Tuesday’s directive will implement had come quickly enough, Healy emphasized the enormous challenge the past year had presented, with both a surge in applications for benefits and a slew of new federal programs to implement. She said the directive had been in the works for a couple of weeks.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Gov. Northam officially opens vaccination website

emergency funding for homeless

Gov. Northam officially opened the statewide vaccination and phone bank to set up appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The new website location is vaccinate.virginia.gov to enter the waiting list even if you are not in the eligibility group yet.

If you have already registered on the Valley Health website there is no need to re-register as you have already been carried over.

In fact you are able to check your status on the new website as well.

If you don’t have web service the phone number is now available seven days a week 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 877-829-4682 that’s 877-Vax-In-VA.

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Northam announces expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine

virginia electoral college votes

By SARAH RANKIN and ALAN SUDERMAN

By Associated Press | Published Jan. 15, 20214:30 a.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia officials announced changes Thursday that significantly expand the pool of people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as they also outlined plans for mass-vaccination clinics to speed up the pace of inoculations.

Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference in Richmond that the state would follow new federal guidance from President Donald Trump’s administration that urged states to immediately start vaccinating people who had previously been lower down the priority list.

Newly included in what’s called Phase 1b of the state’s distribution plan are people age 65 and older and younger people with certain health problems that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

“This means about half of Virginia is now eligible to receive the vaccine. That’s a major logistical effort, and it is not going to happen overnight,” said Northam, who also used the news conference to announce new guidance aimed at getting more public schools open for in-person instruction.

Demand for the vaccine is still expected to outpace supply, so not everyone newly eligible will be able to get a shot immediately.

The state is currently receiving about 110,000 doses per week, Northam said.

Dr. Danny Avula, who was recently tapped by the governor to direct the state’s vaccine rollout efforts, said Virginia would be introducing fixed-site mass vaccination centers that would be open six or seven days a week to help meet the eventual goal of vaccinating 50,000 people a day.

Residents can expect “movement” on mass-vaccinations sites as soon as next week, he said, adding that more vaccines will also be available in the coming weeks through private providers and pharmacies.

Only some parts of the state in northern Virginia, southwest Virginia and the Eastern Shore have moved into phase 1b so far.

Health districts in the rest of Virginia are still working to vaccinate the health care workers and long-term care facility residents in 1a.

But Northam said all health districts would be there “by the end of the month” and asked for patience as the state works through the complicated logistics.

“We need people to get this vaccine.

It is our only way out of this pandemic,” he said.

On schools, Northam said the state’s education department was issuing new guidelines on restarting in-person learning.

The governor said the state’s new policy is: “schools need to be open, and here are the ways to do that safely.”

The guidelines are not mandates and individual school districts will still have final say in how they operate.

Virginia currently has a patchwork approach, with some public and private schools offering in-person learning while others offer only virtual school.

Northam also said that he was looking at eventually adjusting school calendars so that schools operate year-round, instead of taking lengthy summer breaks.

Officials also addressed concerns about possible civil unrest in the capital city over the weekend or in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Northam said public safety officials were well prepared to prevent any violence and the Virginia National Guard would be available to provide support if necessary.

“If you come here and act out, Virginia will be ready,” Northam said.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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