Teachers from Elkton’s Riverbend Elementary School are coming together to finish painting a mural in town.
The mural is funded by the Virginia Love grant to the town of Elkton.
Groups of students in the school’s mural club created the designs that are displayed as part of the mural.
“We had tons of fun at mural club,” Kristen Jenkins, a special education teacher at Riverbend Elementary School, said. “It was just super cool to see the kids come together as a team to work together and do these. It was kids from all grades. We really looked at kids who had never done after school programs before and recruited those kids too.”
The mural can be found off West Spotswood Avenue and Warren Street in Elkton.
The teachers expect to finish the mural later this week.
Leaders from Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University joined Harrisonburg City Council members during their Tuesday night Zoom meeting to discuss COVID-19 response updates.
EMU hoped to start classes in-person on Aug. 25, but an outbreak occurred on-campus when the university’s campus community assistants returned one week early for additional training.
Instead of beginning in-person, EMU began classes online on Aug. 25. On Sept. 3, the university transitioned to a mix of the in-person and virtual learning models.
As of Sept. 22, the EMU COVID-19 Dashboard, there are 8 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases. Seven cases were confirmed at the university and one case was self-reported.
EMU President Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman said the biggest change on campus was at dining halls.
“Right now we don’t have students that are eating inside in our expansive dining hall. We have grab and go meals with reusable materials,” Schultz Huxman said. “We have tents everywhere [for students to eat outdoors]. It looks like a festival of sorts.”
EMU plans to host Homecoming and Family Weekend events online Oct. 16 through Oct. 18.
After pivoting to online learning for four weeks, JMU plans to return to in-person learning on Oct. 5. The university is implementing a number of changes when students return to campus for the second time this semester.
“As many as 85 percent [of students] are still here, so if we have some mix of classes along the lines of what Susan [Schultz Huxman] described, that same kind of mix, we have a greater ability to monitor behavior and require testing,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said. “The students returning to the residence halls in October represent a small subset of the overall student body, so we don’t expect a significant impact on the community when those students return.”
With the help of a third-party testing company, JMU plans to test 300 non-symptomatic students per week who have not yet tested positive to get ahead of any potential coronavirus outbreaks.
As of Sept. 22, the JMU COVID-19 Dashboard reports 132 active cases and 1,313 recovered cases.
All JMU students signed a COVID-19 Stop the Spread Agreement before returning to campus, but weeks into the semester it is clear to the university that not all students followed expectations.
“We have notified 290 students of violations so far this semester,” Dr. Tim Miller, VP for Student Affairs, said. “Thus far, we have found 45 students responsible for [inappropriate] behavior and those sanctions have ranged from restorative justice process to probation.”
Dr. Miller said some cases can result in expulsion.
He said before classes began, he accompanied Harrisonburg police officers on a ride-along to monitor student behavior and is in the process of scheduling another with the Harrisonburg Fire Department.
“I believe the only way I can understand what [police are] seeing is if I see it myself,” Miller said.
Early in-person voting in Harrisonburg will continue at City Hall, however, some want it to be located at another spot within the 409 South Main Street location.
At an emergency meeting on Tuesday night, the Harrisonburg Electoral Board was told by General Registrar Mark Finks, that there was too much congestion in the lobby where early voting began on Friday. It has led to complaints by city staff and other voters, Finks said.
The Harrisonburg Electoral Board vote 2-1 to move the voting location from the lobby to the building’s atrium by Monday, as long as the Virginia Department of Elections approves.
The secretary of the electoral board, Jane Grant Burner, had concerns of those who may have trouble accessing the building. She also questioned why this is an issue, considering the city knew where the location areas would be, prior to start of early voting.
“Why is this an after thought?" Burner asked. “Why couldn’t somebody see that this was going to be a problem with the third floor to begin with,” she said, in reference to city leaders.
Finks said the atrium was not considered before because of the area being used for other events during the time period.
Burner did not in favor of the move, but agreed with the Vice Chair Bill Ney that this would accommodate more room for voters. Chairwoman Sandra Price-Stroble, as well as Ney, voted in favor of moving the polling area to the atrium. Finks told WHSV there have been more people voting early since it became an option.
Because of election guidelines, the precinct can not be moved to another address without a 60-day notice, so the voting must remain within Harrisonburg City Hall.
Finks said he was notified of congestion concerns on Tuesday afternoon which led to the Harrisonburg Electoral Board having the emergency meeting on Tuesday night.
Finks said there will be an announcement when the change would take effect.