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Facebook provides $280,000 grant to Henrico Education Foundation to strengthen COVID-19 response

The grant will designate $160,000 for meals and $120,000 for Wi-Fi hot spots. For each $100 donation, the foundation receives they are able to purchase supplies for 40 meals which are distributed throughout Henrico County Public Schools’ 15 distribution sites.

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The Henrico Education Foundation is expanding the impact of its COVID-19 Response Fund supporting vulnerable children and families in Henrico County, thanks to a $280,000 grant from Facebook. The tech company’s Henrico Data Center is located in eastern Henrico’s White Oak Technology Park. The foundation has partnered with the center as part of Facebook’s COVID relief effort.

The grant will go toward strengthening the nonprofit’s response to the current health crisis which focuses on a collaborative approach with Henrico County Public Schools to ensure vulnerable families receive meals and Wi-Fi hot spots so children can have access to remote Internet-based learning.

The grant will designate $160,000 for meals and $120,000 for Wi-Fi hot spots. For each $100 donation, the foundation receives they are able to purchase supplies for 40 meals which are distributed throughout Henrico County Public School’s 15 distribution sites. The foundation has also been purchasing Wi-Fi hotspots for the school system to distribute to families without access to the Internet at home. The school system has a goal of purchasing 625 hotspots to support social distancing. The funds will cover the cost of both the hotspot hardware and the service.

“We are grateful for the generous support of Facebook,” said Mike Taylor, CEO of the Henrico Education Foundation. “These funds are critical for remote learning and to assist with feeding families during this challenging time.”

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly hard on our most vulnerable families,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “Thanks to this substantial contribution from the Facebook Henrico Data Center and the efforts of the Henrico Education Foundation, more families will have reliable meals and equitable technology. It opens up tremendous possibilities for our students.”

“Henrico is our home, and we are invested in its long-term vitality. We are honored to partner with the Henrico Education Foundation to support local students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that it will help students continue their education and learning remotely, as well as lift the burden of food insecurity,” said Amber Tillman, Community Development Regional Manager, Facebook.

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University of Richmond begins spring semester with students back on campus, health and safety policies in place

Many policies in place on campus will mirror those implemented during the fall semester. Those prevention strategies include deep cleaning, reconfigured learning spaces, prevalence testing, and face covering and physical distancing requirements for faculty, staff, and students.

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The University of Richmond has resumed in-person instruction and the residential educational experience for the spring 2021 semester as of yesterday, Tuesday, January 19th, 2021.

Many policies in place on campus will mirror those implemented during the fall semester. Those prevention strategies include deep cleaning, reconfigured learning spaces, prevalence testing, and face covering and physical distancing requirements for faculty, staff, and students. Specific plans for the spring semester include:

“The University continues to monitor very closely pandemic developments, and we are prepared to modify our approach to instruction if conditions warrant,” said Jeff Legro, executive vice president and provost. “At this time, we believe we can safely and responsibly continue with our plans for an in-person spring semester, and our community is committed to adhering to our guidelines to make that possible.”

Testing and Screening Protocols

All students were tested for COVID-19 on campus prior to move-in or taking in-person classes. Students were asked to self-quarantine for 10 days prior to returning to campus by staying at home to the fullest extent possible and following additional health and safety protocols. All members of the University community must monitor their health daily. Faculty and staff are also being provided options for COVID-19 testing. UR will also continue COVID-19 prevalence testing, which involves testing a randomly selected group of asymptomatic people to assess the incidence of COVID-19 on campus. 

Move-In

In order to promote physical distancing and ensure adherence to health and safety protocols, student move-in is being phased over a period of 17 days and is expected to conclude Sunday, Jan. 24. Students moving in during this final week are starting their classes remotely and will begin in-person classes following their arrival to campus.

Red Stage Opening and Enhanced Rules

As in the fall, the University of Richmond will open in the Red Stage of its Physical Distancing Framework. During the move-in period, additional enhanced Red Stage rules were implemented to promote a successful and safe start to the semester. These policies provide guidance for students awaiting COVID-19 test results, limit visitors in student residences, and require residential students to remain on campus.  

Calendar and Class Information

The first day of classes is Jan. 19, and classes will conclude April 23. Finals will take place April 28 through May 6. There will be no spring break; however, UR has added two mid-week break days in Feburary and April. As was the case this fall, many courses will be offered in-person while some will be offered fully online or use a combination of approaches. In-person classes will continue to be offered in classrooms modified to support active learning while adhering to physical distancing and related safety protocols. Students could also choose to complete the semester fully online.

Dashboard Data

The University of Richmond COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated at least weekly, remains a source of information to provide updates on COVID-19 data specifically related to the campus community.

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U of R announces socially distant service opportunities and virtual events in honor of MLK Day

Virtual events, such as luncheons and meditation sessions, are slated to take place on Zoom throughout the week in order to bring the campus community together to pause, reflect, and discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King and what it means to heal.

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The University of Richmond has announced it will be closed Monday, January 18th to allow the campus community to engage in physically-distanced service activities celebrating MLK Day.

Historically, UR celebrates the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a day filled with service opportunities completed alongside the greater Richmond community. Due to COVID-19, this year’s MLK Day events will foster opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to volunteer virtually by working on project kits developed by the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. The kits entail projects such as transcribing documents from the Library of Virginia; creating birthday cards for Celebrate! RVA; making toys for the ASPCA; writing letters to elected officials; and more.

The community will also have the opportunity to use the Book Arts Studio’s printing press on MLK Day, to create book art and journals that align with this year’s theme, “The Revolution Then And Now: A Time of Healing.”

Virtual events, such as luncheons and meditation sessions, are slated to take place on Zoom throughout the week in order to bring the campus community together to pause, reflect, and discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King and what it means to heal.

“In the wake of two pandemics — COVID-19 and social injustice — we’re encouraging our community to reflect on what it will mean to heal as we look to the future and explore the ways that we can better impact the lives of those in our community and beyond who experience social injustices and are fighting their own individual revolution,” said Morgan Russell, associate director of multicultural affairs and event organizer.

Full details about UR’s MLK Day celebration are available at richmond.edu/mlk.

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RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras Statement on Trump Riot in DC

“Yesterday’s events were horrific. But rather than run from them, let’s confront them and the uncomfortable truths about race that they laid bare.”

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The Superintendent of Richmond schools, Jason Kamras, issued a strong statement yesterday in the aftermath of Wednesday’s attack at the nation’s Capitol.

Dear #RPSStrong Family,

As many others have noted over the past 24 hours, one of the most striking aspects of yesterday’s events was how law enforcement responded to the overwhelmingly white insurrectionists, as compared to how they responded to BLM protestors of color in Lafayette Park in DC this past summer.

Yesterday, mostly white men seized and vandalized the United States Capitol – and were then allowed to simply walk away.
Last summer, peaceful, mostly Black protestors, who had gathered a block away from the White House to make their voices heard, were gassed and forcibly removed with military tactics, including the use of a US Army helicopter. I shudder at the thought of what would have transpired if the individuals who attacked the United States Congress were Black.

As educators and parents, we need to talk about this with our children. And those of us who are white have a special responsibility to do so. For our national “reckoning” on race to yield tangible results, we must actively and repeatedly call out inequity, educate our children about it, and teach them to uproot it.

Yesterday’s events were horrific. But rather than run from them, let’s confront them and the uncomfortable truths about race that they laid bare. In doing so, perhaps we can take one more step towards fulfilling the ideals symbolized by the United States Capitol.

With great appreciation,
Jason

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