News to Know for Sept. 13: School employee dies from COVID-19; Vaccines for younger kids; No sign of fall cool-down

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:57 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:22 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a quick look at the news you need to know before starting this September Monday that will feel much more like July.

No Sign of an Autumn Cool-Down

Temperatures will heat up the next few days with the return of humidity as well.

Lows in the upper 60s, highs in the low 90s. And there will be a noticeable haze (and brilliant sunsets) likely today and tomorrow, from western wildfire smoke.

RPS Employee Dies from COVID-19

Richmond Schools is mourning the loss of another employee who died from coronavirus complications. The employee’s name and job title were not released.

“Please keep this individual’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” Superintendent Kamras said in a statement.

This is the second employee to die from the virus. The first, who died back in October 2020, was a transportation worker.

Kamras is urging parents to get their children and themselves vaccinated if they are 12 or older, saying unvaccinated people are putting the students and staff at risk.

COVID-19 Testing Programs in Schools

In Virginia, most students returned to school without regular testing in place. But the Virginia Department of Health told our partners at the Virginia Mercury that they’ve mapped out a statewide testing program - they just need to choose a vendor.

They expect voluntary testing to start in early October, but most districts haven’t signed up.

According to the health department, there were more than 20 school-related outbreaks in August alone.

As a reminder, you can track cases throughout some districts. We have all the links available here.

When Will Vaccines be Approved for Younger Kids?

It’s the question many parents have at the top of their minds. And some experts now think it could come sooner than previously thought.

One Pfizer head says shots could start potentially by the end of the month. That would be for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11.

Children now make up 25 percent of new COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Pfizer has been conducting clinical trials of its two-dose vaccine in children 2 and older for months now and experts say its approval could be critical to helping combat the spread of the Delta variant in schools.

Hopewell Schools Death

People in Hopewell are mourning the sudden loss of School Board Chairman Greg Cuffey.

Hopewell City Public Schools says School Board Chairman Greg Cuffey died surrounded by family...
Hopewell City Public Schools says School Board Chairman Greg Cuffey died surrounded by family and loved ones early Sunday morning.(Hopewell City Public Schools)

Hopewell City Public Schools says he died surrounded by family and loved ones early Sunday morning. The cause of his death was not released.

In a statement, Superintendent Melody Hackney says that Mr. Cuffey “exemplified the essence of ‘Blue Devil Pride,’” both professionally and personally, and we cannot even imagine our district without him with us.

Recycling Delays Continue

Central Virginia Waste Management Authority continues to deal with a shortage of workers, delaying pick-up.

“Red Friday” collections will be made today. All “Blue Week” recycling will slide one day, so Monday will be picked up on Tuesday and so on.

You are asked to leave your recycling on the curb until it is collected or you can take it to a drop-off location.

Expansive Voting Rights Act

Governor Ralph Northam is expected to ceremoniously sign a first-of-its-kind voting rights act today.

The law protects against voter discrimination and gives voters the right to sue for suppression.

Delegate Marcia Price led the change and says this is the most comprehensive of state-level voter protection in the country.

Time Capsule Update

A new time capsule has been installed in the pedestal where Robert E. Lee’s statue once stood.

Crews move a section of the base as they attempt to locate a time capsule said to be buried in...
Crews move a section of the base as they attempt to locate a time capsule said to be buried in the base of the statue of on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. The statue was removed from the pedestal on Wednesday.(Steve Helber | AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Historians and crews searched for a 134-year-old time capsule last week but had no luck.

Still, Gov. Northam installed a capsule representing the current state of the country. One day, people will uncover an expired vial of the Pfizer COVId-19 vaccine, a Black Lives Matter sticker and a photograph of a Black ballerina with her fist raised near the Lee statue during last summer’s protests.

‘Monumental Conversations’ Offers Self-Guided Tours

Dozens of people gathered in front of the steps of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on Sunday for the launch of a new community-driven augmented reality tour for Monument Avenue.

The app, called “Monumental Conversations,” uses visual arts and storytelling to bring untold stories to life on your phone.

RPS debuted the app and leaders say they hope to tell the full story - the good, the bad and the ugly. Check it out here.

Final Thought

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

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