July 22, 2020: Travel quarantine, Chapter 11 for Worldstrides, Greene water
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The governors of both New York and New Jersey have placed Virginia on a list of states from where travelers are expected to self isolate for 14 days if they plan to travel there. According to a press release from Governor Phil Murphy, this travel advisory applies to states where the seven day positive testing rate is higher than ten or where the positive rate is higher than 10 per 10,000 residents. In New Jersey, that applies to 31 states as of yesterday. That applies to New Jersey residents who have traveled to Virginia or those other places. Travelers to New York arriving by airplane are now required to fill out a form with information about where the 14-day quarantine will take place.
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss a potential return to Phase 2 restrictions in the county. The six-member body discussed the matter last week and asked staff to come back with information about how the county might enforce guidelines intended to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.
The school year is fast approaching and the conversation over whether in-person classes should be held continues. The athletic director for the City of Charlottesville has “decided to suspend upcoming athletic conditioning and workout sessions” until it is more clear whether sporting events will take place this fall. Rodney Redd sent an email to city school parents Tuesday announcing a decision about to proceed locally will come after the Virginia High School announces their plans for the upcoming school year. That’s expected to take place on Monday, July 27.
The City School Board will meet on Thursday July 30 to determine their path forward. City Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins has proposed starting school on September 8, the same as Albemarle County. Right now both jurisdictions are preparing a series of options to proceed, including online-only options, and a final decision for both is fast approaching. Albemarle County will hold three town halls to gather input on how to proceed, with the first happening on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The other two dates are Friday, July 24 at 2 p.m. and Monday, July 27 at 6 p.m. Until then, both systems are continuing to provide meal deliveries. Charlottesville City Schools are still doing meal deliveries on Mondays and Wednesdays. Albemarle has a series of events on different days. (Albemarle Return to School page) (Charlottesville schools page)
The Greene County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting last night to discuss their next steps now that the Rapidan Service Authority has taken an action that puts the creation of a new reservoir in jeopardy. On July 14, Greene Supervisors voted to increase monthly facility fees to help fund the White Run Reservoir project. The Rapidan Service Authority's Board of Directors consists of two representatives each from Greene, Orange and Madison Counties. They met on July 16 and Greene County Administrator Mark B. Taylor said there was no indication that the RSA would take a vote that could end the reservoir project.
"The RSA agenda makes no mention and gives no indication of what turned out to be an obviously prearranged action that was taken by the RSA Board and that is an item to consider termination of facility fees," Taylor said.
Taylor said the RSA hid the item from Greene County's view and the public's view. The four representatives from Madison and Orange voted to terminate the fees, while Greene's voted against that idea.
A press release sent out on July 16 by the RSA that “as of July 17, the RSA Board of Directors will require that all water availability fees in Greene County be paid directly to the Rapidan Service Authority” and that the RSA “will no longer bill or collect water facility fees or sewer facility fees.”
"It should be pointed out that that is contrary to agreements signed by both the RSA and Greene County," Taylor said.
The expansion of the water supply for Greene County's designated growth area has a cost estimate of between $45 million and $60 million. Taylor said RSA has been made aware of the plans to date.
Greene Supervisor Chair Bill Martin, and RSA member, said the county has anticipated that its future growth depends on a new reservoir for water storage rather than relying on taking in water from the Rapidan River. He said he objected to the motion.
"I also followed that up by saying that 'Am I now hearing that water service can't proceed with the run of the river philosophy, even after these years of knowing we needed more than what was coming down out of the mountains down under the bridge at 29 where the water intake pipe is," Martin said.
The Greene Board of Supervisors took no action. Look for extended coverage in the Greene County Record. (RSA July 16, 2020 agenda)
A Charlottesville-based firm that arranges educational trips for school children across the country has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to an article in the Daily Progress. Worldstrides was sold to a European private equity firm in 2016, and the filing in the Southern District of New York offers a path for the original owners to buy the company back. A press release quotes president Robert Gogel as saying the pandemic brought the tourism industry to a standstill, but “our owners and our lenders continue to believe in the long-term opportunity for WorldStrides.” The company is the 6th largest employer in the city of Charlottesville according to the Virginia Employment Commission. (press release)
In other meetings today, The Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board (MPO) meets at 4 p.m. The two Charlottesville City Councilors and two Albemarle Supervisors will review the area’s Smart Scale submissions. They will also discuss an update to the federally-required Public Participation Plan, consider support for the INVEST in America Act and the Long Bridge Act,
The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 12 p.m. (agenda)