Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Friday, Feb. 12

By Brian Carlton

February 12, 2021

Daily Number

1915 – On this day in 1915, workers laid the cornerstone for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

14 – We’ve got a bonus number today, which feels appropriate as some of our readers, especially those in NoVA, woke up to ice and snow. Some school districts even got an actual snow day. On this day in 2006, snow kept falling throughout most of the Commonwealth, as people woke up to a whiteout in some areas. In Oakton, Virginia, local officials reported 14 inches of snow over a 24-hour period.

Earthquake Hits Southwest Virginia on Thursday

If you were in Tazewell County, there’s a chance you felt things shake a bit last night. In fact, most of Southwest Virginia felt the ground shake, thanks to an earthquake.

According to the United States Geological Survey, a 2.9 magnitude earthquake hit at 10:54 p.m. The quake, which had a depth of 3.1 miles, hit 5.6 miles northeast of Richlands. USGS officials warn that people in the area might feel aftershocks for a couple days.

This comes just a few weeks after a 2.3 magnitude quake hit Deerfield. That took place at 12:49 a.m. on Jan. 16.

Another School District Returns to Class

Radford City Schools students will be heading back to the classroom in March. School district officials announced the decision Thursday, saying kids would have two options.

  • Option One: Return to in-person learning four days a week, with Wednesdays off.
  • Option Two: Stay remote and also take part in class four days a week, with Wednesdays off.

Students who take the remote option can either follow along with live classes through Zoom or do the work on their own, watching videos provided by teachers.

In a letter sent out to parents, district officials gave a deadline of Feb. 19. By that point, parents have to determine which option they choose and, if it’s in-person, how the student will get to and from class.

The announcement comes one week after Gov. Ralph Northam told school districts they have to submit a plan to reopen by March 15.

What Do The Latest Numbers Say?

COVID-19 Strains Reach Washington D.C.

COVID-19 variants are in the District. Local officials made that announcement Thursday night, reporting that residents have been infected with both the U.K. and South African variants.

“We did receive notification from the CDC that two of the variants that have been of concern in the U.S. have been detected in D.C. residents,” D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said at the press conference.

At this point, four people have been infected with the variant strains. Three currently have the U.K. version and one has the South African version. When asked if these infections came as a result of travel, Nesbitt said her staff is gathering more information.

Bluefield College Team Suspended For Kneeling

BLUEFIELD-The Bluefield College men’s basketball team was supposed to play a game Thursday night. Instead, they forfeited, after Bluefield’s president suspended the whole team for kneeling during the national anthem. 

In a letter sent out Thursday to the campus community, Bluefield President David Olive said the team had been told kneeling during the national anthem wasn’t allowed at Bluefield. When the students did it anyway at the Feb. 9 home game, he decided to hand out consequences. 

“The basis for my decision stemmed from my own awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country, and I did not think a number of our alumni, friends, and donors of the College would view the act of kneeling during the anthem in a positive way,” Olive wrote. 

This isn’t the first time the team has knelt during the national anthem. They did it at multiple home and away games in January and early February. However, Olive said he and the coaching staff weren’t aware of the previous incidents until a local tv station did a story on the practice. Coach Richard Morgan told Olive that due to where he was standing on the basketball court, he couldn’t see that the players were kneeling during the anthem.

In the letter, Olive says he wants to find ways to help students speak out against racism, but kneeling isn’t an option.

Assembly Considers Changing HIV Transmission Laws

 People living with HIV are being criminalized under Virginia law, but there’s a bill before the General Assembly that could change things. 

Under current law, people who are aware of their HIV status can receive a jail sentence or be fined for engaging in sex acts without disclosing that they have HIV. This law currently applies regardless of whether the sexual partner of someone with HIV contracted the virus.

People whose HIV viral load is undetectable and therefore are unable to transmit the virus can also be persecuted under existing Virginia law. Dogwood’s Meg Schiffres explains.

Sen. Warner Weighs in on Impeachment Trial

So apparently there’s a big event going on in Washington D.C. As the impeachment trial heads into Day 3, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner gives his take on Day 2 of the hearing.

A Different Type of Frontline Work: Planned Parenthood Offers Safety Net

We’ve talked about the vaccine and about COVID-19 in general a bit today. But now we look at a different side of the pandemic, a different type of essential worker.

You might not know that Virginia’s Planned Parenthood also provides primary care services. That can mean treating people with high blood pressure, anxiety, helping someone with depression or even diabetes. The group’s operated as a bit of a safety net during the past year, as Dogwood’s Amie Knowles explains.

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