News to Know for Feb. 16: New vaccine registration system; School closings & power outages continue; Water distribution resumes

News to Know for Feb. 16: New vaccine registration system; School closings & power outages continue; Water distribution resumes
The Virginia Department of Health's new online vaccine sign-up form launches today to help centralize and streamline the waitlist process. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Good Tuesday morning! Here’s a quick look at the stories you need to know before you start your day.

News to Know for Feb. 16

NEWS TO KNOW: Here's a look at our top stories >>

Posted by NBC12 on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Finally, some sun returns

After some wintry weather, the sun will make an appearance today! Andrew says it will be the best day of the week!

But don’t get too used to it, another round of cold air and wintry precipitation is moving back into the area Thursday:

After morning clouds, the sun returns

School closings and delays

Some school districts are closed again today amid ongoing power outages from Saturday’s ice storm. See the full list here.

A look at power outages

Dominion says more than 85 percent of customers have had their power restored following the most damaging ice storm in two decades.

Right now, about 30,000 of their customers are still without power. Southside Electric has just under 32,000 residents still out. Rappahannock Electric still has about 500 homes in the dark.

What about the water situation?

The power is back on at a water treatment facility in Hopewell, but the boil water advisory remains in effect as crews work to get service fully restored.

But once your water comes back on - you’re still being asked to avoid doing dishes or laundry to conserve water while they build up the supply.

Hopewell residents wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic for bottled water; distribution to resume Tues.

Today’s bottled water distribution runs from 10 to 5 here at Patrick Copeland Elementary along Westhill Road.

New vaccine registration system launches

A new statewide vaccine registration system launches today. Until now, people had to register with their individual local health districts.

Last week, state officials instructed local health departments to close down their pre-registration sites, so they could get ready for the new system

The new centralized state database will allow people to check their waitlist status, and it will help filter out duplicate registrations.

What if I already pre-registered?

This is an important question. Your information will be carried over to the new site, so you DO NOT need to re-register on the new system. There will also be a way for you to double-check that to make sure you’re still on the list and that all your info is correct.

After that, you’ll be contacted for an actual appointment based on your eligibility and availability.

The site is supposed to launch at 8 a.m. and we will post a link on our website.

How is Virginia doing so far?

More than 12 percent of the state’s population has now received at least one dose.

The daily average of doses administered is at 35,000 – still short of the governor’s long-term goal of 50,000.

Another vaccine approved

The move should allow its partners to ship millions of doses to countries worldwide as part of a U.N.-backed program to tame the pandemic.

This shot has gotten some good reviews because it is cheaper and easier to distribute than some other vaccines.

Push to get students in-person

State lawmakers pushed a new bill forward that would provide a blueprint to get kids back to in-person learning. It would go into effect this summer and impact the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

The bill, which advanced in the house, would require districts to follow new CDC guidelines.

Lawmakers in Richmond join battle over getting all students back in the classroom

It also gives parents an option to keep their child at home and gives districts a choice to close down certain schools if there is a COVID-19 outbreak.

RPS to discuss attendance, school calendar

In Richmond, school leaders have a packed agenda for tonight’s school board meeting.

Back in October, the district reported a spike in chronic absenteeism, with about one in five RPS students chronically missing amid virtual learning.

Also on the agenda: an update on reopening buildings in the fall, along with calendar options for next school year that include year-round school. You can watch the virtual meeting starting at 6 p.m. on RPS’s Facebook page.

Final Thought

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

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