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VPM Daily Newscast: April 10, 2020

face masks assembled on wooden table
Author and journalist Phaedra Hise has been making face masks for local healthcare workers, first responders, and other community members throughout the pandemic. (Photo: Phaedra Hise)

*VPM intern Jakob Cordes wrote this summary.

During the coronavirus outbreak, VPM is running a daily newscast of our reporting, hosted by Benjamin Dolle. Episodes are recorded at 6 p.m. and released for 7 a.m. the next day, Tuesday through Friday.

In this episode:

Northam Signs Hundreds of Bills - and Hundreds More Await
Governor Northam has been forced to juggle the state's pandemic response with a record slate of bills which now await his approval or veto - with a deadline this Saturday at midnight. Among the more than 800 already signed are the establishment of a "non-binary" option on state driver's licenses and the repeal of a misdemeanor charge for leaving dead animals in churches. Still awaiting a decision are thornier bills such as a slate of gun control measures and a proposed minimum wage hike.

Almost No One Flying The Friendly Skies
Daily flights out of Richmond International Airport are half of what they were - and passenger counts have dropped to 90 to 95% of their level a year ago.

School Districts Adapt Grading to Canceled Fourth Quarter
In accordance with state guidance, local schools are basing final grades for the 2019-2020 school year on work submitted before school closures began. Many schools are also allowing students to submit make up work and raise their grades through optional assignments - or foregoing traditional letter grades altogether.

ACLU, Legal Aid Justice Center Say Virginia Prisons Not Doing Enough to Combat Spread of COVID-19
Several groups advocating for prisoners' rights are calling for the release of inmates who are not an immediate threat to the public. Earlier this week Governor Northam said he would not use executive power to speed up releases, but with nearly 50 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in state facilities, local prosecutors warn they could become "petri dishes" for the virus.

Everyone's Working Remotely - Even the Richmond City Counci
Richmond City Council meetings will be held remotely until the coronavirus abates, following suspension of a state statute banning virtual meetings for local governments. The meetings will still be open to public comment - you can find more details  here.

Local Artist and VCU Health Collaborate to Help End Mask Shortage
VCU Health, working with Richmond artist and VCU alum Keith Ramsey, has created a process to decontaminate protective masks so they can be re-used by medical professionals. The system uses a rack of Ramsey's design and high-energy UV light - the same used to sanitize operating rooms - to disinfect the masks.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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  2. During COVID-19, School Districts Struggle with Grades
  3. Northam Quietly Signs Hundreds of Bills As Deadline Looms
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  5. Group Calls For More Prison, Jail Releases Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
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