Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Thursday, March 11

By Brian Carlton

March 11, 2021

Franklin students return to regular classes, Martinsville celebrates a unique event and vaccine distribution expands.

Daily Number

1 – That doesn’t seem like a big number, but it’s huge for people in Martinsville and Henry County. Wednesday marked one full week with no COVID-19 patients at Sovah Health Martinsville. None. Zero. This is the first time in a year the hospital could say that. With the vaccine distribution spreading, officials hope for quite a few more.

Franklin County Students Will Return to Class

Franklin County students are headed back to in-person instruction. Superintendent Bernice Cobbs announced Wednesday night on Facebook that kids from pre-K through 12th grade would come back March 29.

By come back, she means in-person learning five days a week. That goes for every kid whose family wants them to return. For those who want to stay virtual, that will be an option. As all districts are able to adapt schedules this year, Franklin County will extend their semester through June 11.

There will be a couple changes, however:

👉 Masks will be required

👉 Students and staff will have the option to use face shields

👍 Those shields will be given out by school staff.

Because some seniors need help to meet graduation requirements, they will return sooner than the rest. Those seniors will come back to class starting March 15.

Where Can I Schedule a Vaccine Appointment With CVS?

Two bits of information came out Wednesday, in regards to CVS distributing the vaccine. First, while no specific locations have been picked yet, CVS will partner with Target stores across the state and country. In a statement from Target, the company said it would be using fitting rooms to house vaccination sites.

Meanwhile, you can check now in real time to see what CVS locations have appointments available. But if you see one, it’s a good idea to claim it quick. For example, when Dogwood checked Wednesday night at 10:45 p.m., there were openings at the Christiansburg, Clarksville and Colonial Heights pharmacies. By 10:46 p.m., all of those were fully booked.

You can find available locations here. Just go to the page and click on the Virginia icon.

#ThisIsVirginia Series Continues For Dogwood

Earlier this week, Dogwood launched its #ThisIsVirginia series on Instagram. Every day during the week, we talk with residents across the state, asking them to just share a story of any kind. It can be about themselves, their work or anything they want to share. One of Wednesday’s stories came from Richmond, as 25-year-old Caitlin Spencer shared how she came to the city.

It Looks Like We’re Heading Out of Winter

If Wednesday was any example, it looks like winter’s finally done with Virginia. At 4 p.m. in Blacksburg, the temperature hit 70 degrees. Now if you’re wondering why that’s worth a mention, it’s the warmest that region’s been since Nov. 11, 2020, according to the National Weather Service.

Will the warm days stick around? Not yet. In fact, the NWS forecast expects us to barely cross over the 60 degree mark once in the next week. For some of the mountain areas, the forecast calls for temperatures to drop back into the 40s and low 30s. Still, that won’t last for long. NWS officials expect spring to make a permanent appearance by the end of the month.

Virginia American Airlines Workers Get a Letter

During any type of economic downturn, it’s not always a good idea to get a letter from the boss. But the letter received by American Airlines workers, both in Virginia and across the country, was a relief.

Due to Congress passing the American Rescue Plan, company officials said they would not be terminating 13,000 employees as planned.

“For our 13,000 colleagues who received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notices, those are happily canceled,” the letter states.

The company used funding from the ARP’s Payroll Support Plan to guarantee all employees will keep salary and benefits through Sept. 30.

‘Breonna’s Law’ Takes Effect in Virginia

Typically, Virginia’s new laws take effect on July 1, with the start of a new fiscal year. However, because there was a special session late in 2020, some police reforms became effective on March 1. Chief among those was ‘Breonna’s Law’.

Starting this month, law enforcement officers have to clearly state who they are when serving a warrant. That means giving their name and the agency they work for. They also must be identifiable so that anyone recognizes them as police. Once inside the house, they have to read the warrant and give a copy to the homeowner. 

Beyond that, there would be a time constraint. 

“[The warrant] shall be executed only in the daytime unless a judge or magistrate, if a judge is not available, authorizes the execution of such search warrant at another time,” the bill states. 

The final version also gets specific with a timeframe. Unless officers convince a judge otherwise, officers have to go out between 8 am and 5 pm to serve a search warrant.

Also taking effect this month are the state’s Marcus Alert system and a nearly complete ban on chokeholds.

Trivia Answer: What a Tangled Web We Weave

On Wednesday, we asked what item in ancient Greece and Rome was used to make bandages. The hint was a picture of a spider next to his web and that pretty much gives away the answer. Yes, back in ancient times, people intentionally grabbed spider webs and used them to wrap up wounds.


✅ The webs supposedly have natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.

❌ They in theory were supposed to prevent infection.

✅ It’s also believed that spider webs contain vitamin K, which helps the blood to clot.

Why Did Some Virginia Representatives Vote No?

Last week the House voted to eliminate a technicality that allowed law enforcement agencies to arrest women and engage in sexual acts w/them by claiming consent. But the vote wasn’t unanimous, with several Virginia reps voting against.

Dogwood columnist Qasim Rashid wants to know why some of our elected officials tried to keep this practice in place.

Even With a Vaccine, Henry County Plans Virtual Academy

Yes, there’s a directive out to get students back in the classroom by the middle of the month. But that doesn’t mean all students will board a bus in two weeks.

That’s by design in Henry County, as Dogwood’s Amie Knowles explains.

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