2020-6-29

Library Announces Phased Reopening

 The Meherrin Regional Library closed to the public on March 18th in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the governor’s stay at home orders. Since then the library has been working behind the scenes to bring books and services back to the community. While closed, the library staff have been preparing library facilities to promote social distancing; acquiring PPE for enhanced cleaning of books and other surfaces; converting the annual Summer Reading Program into a virtual experience; increasing online ebooks, newspapers, magazines and other offerings; installing contact-free locker pick up services; and developing plans to meet the community’s needs in a new normal.

Starting Monday, June 29th MRLS will be reopening its doors again to welcome patrons back to the library. The Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia, will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville, will be open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM until further notice (closed July 3rd for Independence Day). On closed days each library will continue to provide contact-free locker service and will be using that time to adapt to developing needs and sanitizing surfaces.

Face coverings and hand sanitizing will be required for all visitors entering library facilities during this initial reopening phase. Each library will have a ten patron building capacity. Because of this restriction the library suggests that patrons limit their visit to 30 minutes. Copier, fax, and scan services will be available as well as 30 minute public computer and printer sessions. Walk-ins are welcomed, however library use appointments will be accepted to minimize potential wait times.

For questions concerning library services contact the Richardson Memorial Library at 434-634-2539 or richardsonmemoriallibrary@gmail.com. The Brunswick County Library may be contacted at 434-848-2418, ext. 301 or brunswicklibrary@gmail.com. MRLS is also found on Facebook at Meherrin Regional Library System.

SVCC Announces 2020 Fall Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will resume a full schedule of classes this fall beginning August 24th. In what the college is terming its “HyFlex” approach to course delivery, class options (depending on needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a new “Zoom to Home” option.

Instruction will comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for physical distancing, hygiene and safety. “While priority for in-person instruction will be performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online, additional seated courses will be offered as room availability allows. SVCC's Fast Forward workforce programs will be offered in small groups.

The college's flexible approach allows for appropriate social distancing, while making alternatives available for those students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home and, therefore, would not be able to participate in online or at-home Zoom classes.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "SVCC's partnership with communities to establish off-campus centers, in addition to our Alberta and Keysville college locations, is a real benefit at this unprecedented time in our history. It allows the college to offer students the flexibility to utilize classroom space and computer labs and to access high speed internet at various locations across the college's 4,200 square mile service area, while complying with the appropriate guidelines."

Aware that the outlook can change, Dr. Johnson says, "We will remain nimble and adjust as needed. SVCC's COVID-19 Task Force has a plan in place to pivot back to fully remote and online options if public health and safety requires it." Dr. Johnson is quick to point out that it will not be business as usual at SVCC. At all SVCC locations face coverings will be required, classrooms have been reconfigured to comply with social distancing, and there will be limited access to facilities.

Times have changed, but SVCC is still open for business and remains committed to assisting our students in every way possible. More information is available at Southside.edu or by calling 434-949-1000.

Idndependence Day Fireworks will Take Place

We are happy to announce that the Annual July 4th Fireworks Event sponsored by the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce will take place on Saturday July 4th.

During the past few months we have appreciated all of the sacrifices that this community has made to keep us safe during this pandemic.  For the safety of everyone, we will not be able to provide the live music and entertainment this year as we have done in the past. We will however join the community in celebrating the birth of our nation with our annual fireworks display to begin at approximately 9:00pm.  We encourage everyone to view the fireworks from various points in and around the City of Emporia while observing the current social distancing guidelines. 

We thank and love this community, and want to give special thanks to the City of Emporia and Greensville County.  We could not fulfill our mission to promote all businesses without the strategic support of these partners.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce Weekly COVID-19 Update

On July 1, all regions of the Commonwealth are expected to transition into Phase Three of re-opening as part of the Governor’s “Forward Virginia” plan. Under this phase, restaurants and non-essential retail will be able to fully re-open without capacity restrictions and gatherings of up to 250 will be permitted. More information on the guidelines associated with this phase can be found below.

The Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry met on Wednesday to consider a new emergency regulation that would set out additional requirements for Virginia employers related to workplace safety due to COVID-19. The Board was also tasked with considering comments that were offered during the brief 10-day window the Board allowed for input from the public.

Over 3,300 comments were submitted to the Board for consideration. After meeting for close to eight hours, technical difficulties, and motions to delay, the Board has agreed to meet again for final consideration of the standards at some point next week.

The Virginia Chamber submitted a comment letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry and the Safety and Health Codes Board as part of the public comment process to voice our strong concerns about placing additional burdens on Virginia businesses and inconsistencies with federal regulations within the proposed standards.

The Board will meet again next week to consider additional changes to the emergency standard and vote for final approval. If the Board approves the standards, they could go into effect by July 15, 2020. You can view the proposed emergency standards here.

As the discussion around the process for re-opening k-12 schools continues, leadership from the Northam Administration announced yesterday that the authority to determine the individual strategy for each district will be determined by the local school boards. While local school boards will have the responsibility of developing the process that works best for their district, they are encouraged to utilize the guidelines put forward by the Northam Administration earlier this month. These guidelines are available on the Virginia Department of Education’s website.

This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize sPower for its significant contributions to support COVID-19 relief efforts, helping communities across the Commonwealth.

As communities across the country are faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sPower, a leading renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) with an office in Glen Allen, announced a $500,000 commitment to support emerging Covid-19 needs in local communities where it develops and operates. Beginning in March, sPower staff began reaching out to local leaders, chambers of commerce, non-profits, educational institutions and others to identify specific needs in communities. The company has adopted a ‘hyperlocal’ approach to giving, as COVID-19 has impacted communities in varying ways. Grants have included direct donations to food banks; food for seniors, first responders and families; healthcare supplies; small business support and wireless access to communities with limited broadband. More information on this week’s “Member Spotlight” can be found below.

Member Spotlight: sPower

As communities across the country are faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sPower, a leading renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) with an office in Glen Allen, announced a $500,000 commitment to support emerging Covid-19 needs in local communities where it develops and operates. Beginning in March, sPower staff began reaching out to local leaders, chambers of commerce, non-profits, educational institutions and others to identify specific needs in communities. The company has adopted a ‘hyperlocal’ approach to giving, as COVID-19 has impacted communities in varying ways. Grants have included direct donations to food banks; food for seniors, first responders and families; healthcare supplies; small business support and wireless access to communities with limited broadband.

sPower has made the following donations in Virginia: 

  • In Virginia, where the company is building a 620 MWdc solar project, contributions were made in Spotsylvania County to Mary Washington Healthcare to fund personal protective equipment for front-line medical workers and to the Community Foundation to support childcare for essential workers.

  • Charles City County – The company supported the food bank at the local high school, feeding more than 100 local students and their families each week consistently. sPower also partnered with Cul’s Courthouse Grille, by purchasing meals for first responders over five Fridays in April and May.

  • Fauquier County - sPower funded donations to Community Touch, Inc, a transitional housing organization with its COVID-19 outreach efforts and the Fauquier Community Food Bank & Thrift Shop. The company also provided $3000 worth of gift certificates to local first responders from a local business, Grioli’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria.

  • Surry County - The needs of the community varied from support for small businesses, to homeless services and protective equipment. sPower contributed to Rushmere Community Development, to assist Brother’s Keeper homeless services, First Baptist Church Spring Grove to aid their mask-making efforts, the Virginia Diner to feed more than 100 seniors eight lunches, Just for Kicks Cupcakes to supply treats to First Responders and to Crater Regional Workforce Initiative to provide small business grants.

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