Vaccinate Virginia Partner Update – Feb. 24, 2021

FEBRUARY 24, 2021
The following information is provided to help partners communicate accurate and timely information to constituents. This information is subject to change as Virginia continues to refine the vaccination effort. Visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine for more information.
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What’s New This Week
The Vaccine Summary Dashboard continues to show Virginia’s significant progress in vaccinations, with more than 1.6 million doses administered. Although last week’s severe winter weather delayed vaccine shipments to Virginia, more than 9 in 10 of available first doses have been administered. (It is important to note that the number of doses shown as being “received” by hospitals and local health districts does not account for the doses they then redistribute to other partners such as physicians and pharmacies.)
The statewide vaccine pre-registration system at vaccinate.virginia.gov has received more than 518,000 pre-registrations since its launch on February 15. Including individuals who pre-registered through local health districts in the past, the new system now includes nearly 1.7 million residents and essential workers. All individuals who have previously filled out a survey or form or signed up for a waitlist to be vaccinated through their local health district have been automatically imported into the new statewide system and do not need to pre-register again. As data migration continues, some pre-registrations may not yet appear in the search tool. Anyone who experiences difficulties with the search function should check the spelling of their name and email address carefully and consider whether they may have used a different name, phone number, or email address in the past. Anyone with questions should call 877-VAX-IN-VA rather than their local health district. A public information toolkit is available to assist local health districts, localities, and community partners with graphics, talking points, frequently asked questions, and other materials.
The new central Vaccinate Virginia phone number, 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), has received more than 115,000 calls so far, and is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service is available immediately in English and Spanish, with real-time interpreter services available in any of more than 100 languages as needed.
Based on our population, Virginia is now receiving approximately 161,000 doses per week from the federal government. There are still simply not enough doses available yet for everyone who is eligible to receive them. Virginia is not likely to meet the demand for Phase 1b until March or April.  Unfortunately, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have pre-registered.
As part of a federal retail pharmacy program, 140 pharmacy locations in Virginia are now receiving a total of 52,000 new first doses per week beyond Virginia’s normal allocation. Participating locations include CVS, Food City, Giant, Kroger/Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart, and multiple independent community pharmacies. The Commonwealth is working with these pharmacies to ensure that as many appointments as possible are offered first to people age 65 and older who are currently on local health district waitlists, rather than accepting new signups from the general public. Unfortunately, CVS has been unable to find a way to do this within the technical limits of their appointment system. Anyone 65 or older can check cvs.com regularly as appointments become available.
Governor Northam has amended Executive Order 72 to expand opportunities for outdoor activities in light of improving COVID-19 case statistics. While limits on indoor gatherings remain the same (including a limit of 10 people at indoor social gatherings), the limit on outdoor social gatherings and exercise groups will increase to 25 people and the limit on outdoor racetrack and amusement venues will increase to 1,000 people. The amended order removes the stay-at-home order from midnight to 5 a.m. and extends the cutoff time for alcohol sales in restaurant dining rooms from 10 p.m. to midnight. These amendments, which will be effective March 1, follow the recent amendment in effect as of February 22 to increase the capacity limit for outdoor recreational sporting events to 250 spectators. Summer camps will be able to open as of May 1, using strict mitigation protocols such as small cohorts of campers. Today’s news release, detailed guidelines, and frequently asked questions about Executive Order 72 are also available.
Key Overview Points
The doses Virginia receives from the federal government are allocated by the Virginia Department of Health to local health districts, primarily in proportion to each district’s population. Local health districts are expected to determine the most equitable and efficient use of each allocation, leveraging any combination of their own staff and volunteers, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers. Additional doses help support targeted equity initiatives. Other doses reach some residents of Virginia through separate federal allocations for employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and certain other agencies; the Indian Health Service; and a federal contract to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.
All local health districts in Virginia are in Phase 1b of vaccine eligibility. This means that approximately 50% of Virginia’s population is now eligible, including frontline essential workers, people aged 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions identified by the CDC, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Other than the healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a, the Virginians in Phase 1b are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or serious illness if infected.
While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered to eligible individuals, roughly half of the available supply should be used for people aged 65 or older. The other half should be used for frontline essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions as identified by the CDC; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Frontline essential workers should be prioritized in the order listed in the Phase 1b details.
Anyone who receives the first dose of vaccine will receive the second dose three or four weeks later as appropriate. Vaccine providers should not hold back their current first dose supply for second doses; they will receive second doses in proportion to the first doses they administer.
Executive Order 72 maintains the 10-person limit on social gatherings, the requirement to wear masks in public places, guidelines for businesses, and other provisions. It is essential to continue these mitigation strategies even by people who are vaccinated.
How Localities Can Help
Support local health departments by ensuring that pre-registration options through vaccinate.virginia.gov and 877-VAX-IN-VA are promoted through local websites and other channels.
Emphasize to the public that because approximately 50% of Virginia residents are now eligible to be vaccinated, the limited supply of vaccine from the federal government means it will take weeks or longer to complete Phase 1b unless supply improves.
Closely coordinate with local health districts to plan smaller vaccination clinics now and larger ones once supply improves. Pooling venues, staff, volunteers, and other resources now will avoid delays later.
Remind everyone in the community that it is more important than ever to take the same precautions as always: staying home when possible, wearing masks when out, maintaining physical distance from others, washing hands frequently, and other best practices.
Remind everyone to always look for websites that end with “.gov” to make sure the information is official. When a vaccine appointment becomes available through a local health district, there will be no charge. State and local agencies will never call, email or text to ask someone for a social security number or immigration status in connection with vaccination.
Office of Governor Ralph Northam | P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
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Superintendent’s Corner – September 2020

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!  Despite the pandemic, VSDB has had a smooth start to the new school year! Students arrived to campus for Registration Day on August 16th in preparation for the first day of school, Monday, August 17th.  VSDB opened providing five days a week in-person instruction in order to meet the needs of its diverse and complex population.  After months of the campus being quiet and empty, VSDB was alive again with students and employees!  Everyone was happy to be back and to have the opportunity to see friends and get back to the business of learning!

Many hours went into the planning and reopening of VSDB.  VSDB’s COVID-19 team worked diligently to address student, parent, employee, and community concerns, and to develop the VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans.  The plans were developed with every aspect in mind to support a safe, healthy learning and working environment to the greatest extent possible.  The team worked closely with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the local Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure compliance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well as those set forward by the VDOE and VDH.  The team examined all aspects of “a day in the life of a student” as well as “a day in the life of an employee” and established processes and procedures to support a safe return for everyone.  The VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans are a work in progress and are updated as needed given new information and guidance.  The Plans can be found on the homepage of the VSDB website.

VSDB looks forward to a great school year and is confident that with teamwork with parents, employees, and the community, that VSDB students will be served effectively during these challenging times.  Please review the VSDB website for more information regarding VSDB programs and services as well as the COVID-19 resources that are posted and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Here is to a great 2020-2021 school year!

 

Sincerely,

Pat Fahed Trice

Superintendent

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Superintendent’s Corner

Welcome to the second semester of this school year and to the new year, 2020!

With the start of the new year, VSDB welcomed students and staff back to campus from the holiday break and the campus has been buzzing ever since!

The start of the 2019-2020 school year highlighted the 180th birthday of VSDB.  As the oldest school in the nation to serve both the Deaf and the Blind and as the second oldest school in the nation to serve the Deaf, VSDB is proud of its heritage and beautiful historic campus! This year, the campus has been busy with long awaited renovations of several of these treasured buildings.  The Infirmary will soon return to its home in the newly renovated Bradford Hall.  This historic mansion has been redesigned to better meet the needs of the students and the infirmary staff.  Everyone is excited for the grand rededication later this school year of one of VSDB’s iconic historical features.

In addition to renovations occurring in Bradford Hall, Battle Hall, one of the older residential halls, is also experiencing renovations.  Historic Battle Hall, is best remembered as one of the residential halls that served the Blind Department. It holds fond memories for many of the alumni and now will glisten with new flooring and other updated features.

As VSDB strives to increase awareness of its unique programs and services throughout the Commonwealth, marketing efforts continue with the development of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that will air close to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  These PSAs will feature small video clips highlighting many of the wonderful programs and services offered at VSDB. at no cost to students, within Virginia, who are blind/vision impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, deafblind, or deaf or blind with other disabilities.  Information packets will be posted on the website or mailed to individuals upon request.

Aligned with the Governor’s Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) initiatives, VSDB will be working with VDOE and other resources to support an enhanced preschool and kindergarten readiness program. VSDB’s Outreach program will be an integral part of this initiative.

The VSDB sports programs continues to provide students with opportunities to be a part of a team and to develop confidence and skills beyond expectations.  VSDB is proud to be a leader in the effort to develop a national Blind Soccer league.  The VSDB Blind Soccer team is one of two in the nation and has partnered with Maryland School for the Blind in an effort to expand the sport nationwide. Thanks to funding from the VSDB Foundation Board, the VSDB Blind Soccer team will have the equipment they need to take Blind Soccer to the next level!  Go VSDB!

VSDB Family Engagement Specialist, Julie Saum in collaboration with several other departments at VSDB, continue to bring families together in an effort to support students at VSDB. Family ASL classes, held on campus have grown in popularity and are expanding for this semester!  The first ever, ASL Family Dinner Night was recently held on campus and was a huge success! The goal of the event was to provide families an opportunity to practice what they have learned in the ASL classes in a safe ASL setting.  The evening started with a spaghetti dinner and included a family ASL workshop for all.  Approximately 75 people were in attendance!  Look for more Family Engagement activities in the future!

VSDB is proud of its unique programs and services that it offers.  VSDB is the place where students are not the only one, but one of many. As students of VSDB, they benefit from the expertise, accessibility, and the community that makes VSDB a leader in the field of education for those students who are deaf and/or blind.  This semester promises to be a busy one but one full of learning opportunities and successes!

As always, thank you for your support and interest in VSDB, where students DO….GROW…and BECOME the best they can be!

 

Pat Trice

Superintendent

 

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