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Thank you to the front-line workers restoring power

First and foremost, this week I want to once again talk about the devastating storm that hit my district last week.

As soon as the storm hit, I reached out to the counties in my district to make sure they had a contact person in the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. There is a system set in place when situations like this occur to request items needed such as generators and other emergency supplies. There is also a process the counties go through in order to evaluate the need for funding. Once a certain threshold of damage is met, they may become eligible for federal FEMA funding for certain damages.

Some people are still without power as of this writing. I have been out visiting the warming centers and speaking on the phone with citizens and truly understand and have compassion for those without electricity. I commend the front-line workers that are working day and night to restore power and deliver fuel as quickly as possible.

When we came to Richmond this year (virtually and otherwise), one thing we heard from our constituents was the need to get our kids back in school five days a week. The damage being done to their educational and emotional health is well documented and tragic. Every day they spend stuck on a Zoom call rather than in the classroom with a teacher is wasted.

That’s why I’m proud to be fighting to give parents a real choice — in-person school, five days a week if they want it, or virtual education if they don’t. Parents have made it very clear that’s what they expect from us. A bill that would do that just passed the Senate and is pending before the House.

Democrats aren’t happy with this bill, though, and have offered their own version that simply entrenches the status quo — substituting hybrid schooling for the real deal, even though face-to-face learning has been shown to be safe for all involved. I expect this matter to come before the House this week. Republicans are committed to getting our kids back in school.

We’re listening to parents, and we’re following the science.

In other COVID news, Virginia has finally launched a central registration system for COVID vaccine appointments. It’s months too late in my opinion, but it is an improvement.

The site isn’t perfect. If you’ve already signed up for a shot with your local health department, you can use the new site to check to see if you’ve been put on the list. If you haven’t yet, you can sign up for one. The site doesn’t have any information about appointments or how long the wait list is — a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” set up.

Nonetheless it is an improvement over the scattershot web forms that were in use across Virginia until Tuesday. For more information or to check on your status, go to vaccinate.virginia. gov, or call (877) VAX-INVA, or (877) 829-4682.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.