Multiple Covid-19 cases at Woodson - Kindergartners to begin concurrent learning this week - WFES seeks classroom monitors, substitutes

County seeks input on Long Branch watershed project - Northam announces new Covid-19 restrictions

Welcome to Wakefield Weekly, where we’re dreading going back into full lockdown mode but increasingly feeling like it might be necessary. Be safe out there, and keep the news and tips coming to wakefieldweekly@gmail.com

Big thanks to our sponsor, Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column today looks at how the pandemic is fueling a surge in home renovation projects. Email Jennifer with real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Schools

Multiple Covid-19 cases at Woodson: “Multiple” cases of Covid-19 were identified last week at Woodson High School, Principal Carlyn Floyd said in an email to families. Affected classroom cohorts have been transitioned to distance learning as the Fairfax County Health Department completes contact tracing investigations and notifications. “Additionally, FCPS will be implementing all cleaning and disinfecting protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FCHD,” Principal Floyd wrote. “Our school remains open to staff and all other in-person cohorts at this time.”

The vast majority of Woodson students are still doing full-time distance learning, but the school has re-opened to in-person instruction for students who access the adapted curriculum. Woodson ESOL students are set to begin in-person classes today, and the school is participating in a concurrent learning pilot program that begins tomorrow with about 60 students and 11 teachers.

Kindergartners to begin concurrent learning this week: Across FCPS, kindergartners are set to return to in-person classrooms two days per week as the school system moves forward with “concurrent learning.” But Superintendent Scott Brabrand made clear in a presentation to the School Board last week that the return to in-person instruction could be called off if Covid-19 case and test positivity rates go above the thresholds laid out in the slide below. “We are closely watching health metrics,” FCPS spokesperson Lucy Caldwell said in an email, “and will communicate any changes immediately if any need to be made.”

Brabrand last week updated the timeline for returning to in-person learning. Group 6, which includes first and second graders, has been pushed back a week, to Dec. 8, while Group 7, which includes grades 3-6, has been pushed to Jan. 4. Meanwhile, Group 8, which includes middle and high schoolers, has been moved forward from Feb. 1 to Jan. 26 to align with the start of the second semester.

The updated timeline is below:

WFES seeks classroom monitors, substitutes: Brabrand noted in his presentation that FCPS has major staffing gaps that could impact the return to in-person learning, including the need for 200 classroom monitors to supervise classrooms in cases where the teacher remains virtual. Wakefield Forest Elementary School sent a message to the community highlighting its need for both classroom monitors and substitute teachers as it prepares for the return of students. Interested applicants can find instructions here.

Congratulations…

...to Wakefield resident and Woodson senior Emilee Ferrari, who has signed to swim Division I at New Mexico State University. Here’s the announcement from the Woodson athletics department:

Pandemic

Northam announces new Covid-19 restrictions: New statewide restrictions take effect today to stem the Covid-19 surge that has swept the nation as we head into winter. The restrictions, announced Friday by Gov. Ralph Northam, include:

  • Public and private gatherings must be limited to 25 people, a sharp reduction from the previous cap of 250

  • The requirement that masks be worn in indoor public spaces has been expanded to ages 5 and up, rather than ages 10 and up

  • Social distancing rules for retail establishments, including grocery stores, will now be enforced as Class One misdemeanors, rather than just considered best practices

  • Bars, restaurants, and other dining establishments are no longer allowed to sell alcohol after 10 p.m., and must close by midnight

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are,” Northam said. “Everyone is tired of this pandemic and restrictions on our lives. I’m tired, and I know you are tired too. But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures work. I am confident that we can come together as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control and save lives.”

Case count ticks up in Fairfax County: The Covid-19 case count is increasing across Fairfax County, as Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay noted in a recent message to the community. “Our case investigators are seeing more exposures occurring in work places, at celebratory events and gatherings, and within households,” McKay said. “People are experiencing Covid fatigue, which is understandable, but this is when spread occurs. We must continue to stay home when sick, social distance, wear masks, and hand wash frequently. This is particularly important as the holidays near.”

The Fairfax County case count is now at its highest level since June, as you can see in the chart below from the Virginia Department of Health:

Parks

County seeks input on Long Branch watershed project: The county is seeking the public’s help in identifying areas of concern in the Long Branch Central Watershed area, which includes parts of the Canterbury Woods, Lee Meadows, Holly Park, and Little Run Estates neighborhoods. The county has set up a website where residents and trail users can report issues such as streambank erosion, flooding, and unusual odors. The project is currently in the “study” phase, with construction set to begin in 2022. The goal is to improve water quality and reduce the sediment eroding from the watershed by 2,433 tons per year.

Here’s a map of the relevant area:

Featured Photo

Chapel Square resident Magaly Gomez captured some beautiful fall foliage on the Accotink Stream Valley Trail in Wakefield Park. Send featured photo submission to wakefieldweekly@gmail.com

Events

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17: The Braddock District Land Use and Environment Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. A draft agenda and details for how to connect will be posted on the Braddock District website in advance.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18: Supervisor Walkinshaw will take questions and listen to concerns from community members at a 7 p.m. Braddock District Council meeting. Zoom link here; meeting ID: 870 5961 0790; passcode: 470276; dial-In: (301)715-8592 

  • Tuesday, Nov. 24: The West Springfield Police District will host a virtual town hall to debut the police department’s interactive GIS-based dashboard, designed to show arrests and other data by location to foster transparency and impartial policing. The West Springfield town hall is part of a series that will include all of the county’s police districts; Zoom link here.

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: Pandemic fuels surge in home improvement projects

I was recently speaking with the owner of a local window and door company as he was measuring for our new front door. I am always curious how the Covid-19 crisis has affected different businesses, especially those related to real estate. He confirmed what I have been told by several other business owners: that business is busier than ever even though prices have risen dramatically since early spring. 

He said the door I am ordering will be much more expensive starting Jan. 1 when new pricing is enacted. I asked him why he thought he was so busy and he responded that since people are spending more time at home, they are more easily able to manage home projects and that they are using money they otherwise would have put toward vacations, eating out, and other discretionary spending.

The National Association of Home Builders reports that since mid-April, lumber prices have soared nearly 120% but are down roughly 20% since mid-September. "The unprecedented lumber price spike over the last several months has added nearly $16,000 to the price of a typical new single-family home," according to the association. The rise in lumber prices is due to the fact that there is just not enough domestic production. Many of the mills had to reduce production due to local stay-at-home orders and the social distancing guidelines enacted by state governments at the start of the pandemic. Mill operators projected that the housing sector would be adversely affected by the health crisis and anticipated a large drop in demand—but the housing sector has gone in the opposite direction, outperforming expectations.

This trend has affected many other industries besides lumber, leading to record waits for products to arrive, which has caused delays for many types of home improvement projects. I have even seen long delays in household appliance availability. If you are planning any improvements around the house, prepare for some of these potential delays and rising prices by selecting contractors as soon as possible and getting a jump start on your projects.

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. Her team services Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., with the bulk of her business in the Woodson High School area. You can contact her with real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038. She’s happy to answer specific questions privately or more general questions publicly in this column.

On the market

8903 Footstep Ct | $849,900
4 beds, 3 baths, 2,144 sf
Listed by Paul B. Greenfield | Redfin Corporation 

4922 Andrea Ave | $575,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,191 sf
Listed by Angela Mitchell | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. 

8809 Stark Rd | $635,000
3 beds, 2 baths, 2,028 sf
Listed by Andy Meruvia | Pearson Smith Realty, LLC 

8285 Private Ln | $1,499,900
4 beds, 4.5 baths, 5,788 sf
Listed by Debbie Dogrul Associates & Jamie Petrik | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

4104 Accotink Pkwy | $849,900
3 beds, 4.5 baths, 3,216 sf
Listed by Leela Singh | Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway 

4025 Guinea Rd | $600,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 1,460 sf
Listed by Nathan Johnson & Philip Johnson | Keller Williams Capital Properties

4600 Duncan Dr | $664,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,661 sf
Listed by Avi Ron | SSG Real Estate LLC. 

4309 Holly Ln | $499,000
0.9 acres
Listed by Jonathan Kennedy | McEnearney Associates, Inc. 

Recently sold

5015 Mignonette Ct | $685,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,725 sf
Listed by Ronald Riddell | Promax Management, Inc.
Bought with Kristin Leathers | Salman Home Realty LLC