A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Darrow Montgomery

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has begun his annual trips to public schools around the District (and described them in grumpy tweets), which means the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. Even though many restrictions and rules related to the pandemic have been lifted, COVID-19 will still impact the 2022-2023 school year. So how are we preparing?

On a federal level, the Biden administration is promoting vaccinations for young children. Though children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in June, only about 3 percent of that group is vaccinated, according to federal officials. Dr. Cameron Webb, a senior advisor to the White House’s COVID-19 team, visited a vaccine clinic for young children at Hyattsville Library this week to emphasize the importance of vaccination and how libraries can serve as community connection points. The American Library Association is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide information about vaccines and resources.  

Vaccines beyond the one for COVID-19 are a priority for DC Health. While keeping young people up to date on routine vaccinations was already challenging, the pandemic exacerbated the situation. As of July, the compliance rate for required public school vaccinations—including those protecting against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis A and B, and chicken pox—was 73 percent. (The national average is 93 percent.) COVID-19 vaccines will be required for those over the age of 12. DC Health officials are working to set up mobile vaccination clinics so students will be prepared when school begins on Monday, Aug. 29. If a student does not produce a record of immunization, they could be removed from school.

According to DC Health’s latest batch of COVID-19 infection data, we’re back in the low range of transmission, recording 164.3 cases per 100,000 residents as of July 30. After two-and-a-half years of pandemic, we know better than to expect consistency, but maybe this is a sign of a healthy start to the school year?

Caroline Jones (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • Two people visiting D.C. from Wisconsin died and two other people are in critical condition after being struck by lightning in Lafayette Park last night. [WTOP]
  • A special police officer was shot and killed during a baton training yesterday at Anacostia Library. A former MPD officer who was leading the training was charged with involuntary manslaughter. “I don’t have answers as to why the live firearm was in ASP baton training,” Police Chief Robert Contee said in response. [NBC Washington]
  • Metro has failed to inspect station rooms where equipment that helps prevent crashes is kept, according to a new safety commission report. [DCist]
  • Police retrieved the body of a man from the Potomac River earlier this morning. Officials believe he was trying to swim to a loose skiff. [Post]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Many D.C. homeless shelters have reached capacity as they struggle to serve migrants arriving from Texas and Arizona, with some forced to stay in hotels or even sleep outside. An anonymous government official says Mayor Muriel Bowser is doing what she can to help some families, but activists have persistently called for more aid from the city. The feds recently denied Bowser’s request for help from the D.C. National Guard to manage the influx of migrants. [NBC News, NBC Washington, Vanity Fair]
  • Bowser has kept interim directors in place at the Department of Forensic Sciences and the Office of Unified Communications far longer than the law allows. Technically, the Council has the power to start withholding their pay, and some lawmakers are considering doing so amid big questions about problems at each agency. [WTOP]
  • Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie says he has enough petition signatures to qualify for the at-large race. Contenders have until Aug. 10 to turn in petitions. [Twitter]

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • As You Are Bar is still awaiting a permanent Certificate of Occupancy; DCRA says some information is still missing. [Blade]
  • Go west, young bagel chain! Call Your Mother is opening two locations in Colorado next spring. [Washingtonian]
  • Rania, which replaces Punjab Grill on 11th St. NW, is serving some of the District’s best Indian food, according to Tom Sietsema. [Post]
  • New Yorkers are going crazy for CAVA. [Washingtonian]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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  • “How do you eat blueberries and celebrate next to a concentration camp?” A play making its world premiere in Southern California was inspired by photos sent to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum of Nazis and their families enjoying life at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where more than a million people—most of them Jews—were murdered. The play is slated for an East Coast premiere. [Post]
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company’s associate artistic director will soon be departing for new adventures in Massachusetts. Alan Paul has been selected to become Barrington Stage Company’s new artistic director. [DC Theater Arts]
  • Alive with alliteration: Colleen Shogan, President Biden’s nominee for archivist of the United States, writes murder mysteries with aggressively alliterative titles. [Politico]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • With last night’s win, the Mystics are looking at a fourth seed in the WNBA playoffs with a relatively easy schedule to finish out the regular season. [Bullets Forever]
  • A new college basketball alumni league will kick off this Saturday with a matchup between former Terps and Hoyas. [Post]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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