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VPM Daily Newscast February 5, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.

Listeners can subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, and Spotify.

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, February 5, 2021:

  • Delegate and gubernatorial hopeful Kirk Cox laid out his proposals for education during and after the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday. His plan calls for the return of students to in-person learning five days a week. Cox, a former teacher, said extra measures must also be taken to offset learning losses experienced during virtual learning. He urged the General Assembly to fund one-on-one and small-group tutoring, suggesting the state should pay teachers, untaxed, to help make up for lost time.


  • The House of Delegates approved a plan from Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) to mandate employers provide essential workers with paid sick leave. The bill contains exemptions for companies who employ less than 25 people or can prove it would be a financial burden. Despite this, groups that represent businesses remain staunchly opposed to the bill. Guzman’s proposal will now move to the state Senate, where it is expected to be met with more resistance.


  • Henrico students will soon be returning to the classroom. The School Board decided pre-K through second grade students will return to in-person learning on Feb. 22. The rest of elementary students and students in sixth and ninth grade will follow suit on March 1. The first two waves of returning students will only be in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays. All other middle and high school students will return on March 8, after teachers are fully vaccinated. From this point on, every school day will be in person, except Wednesdays. Families will still have the option to have their children learn remotely.


  • Sen. Mark Warner expressed hope that the COVID-19 relief package Congress is considering can find bipartisan support. He also encouraged Virginia lawmakers to begin the process of raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, saying each year the state waits, more people fall into poverty. 


  • Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to roll out plans today to extend the school year into the summer. During an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday, Northam said this will help students catch up and prepare for fall classes. The governor’s weekly briefing will stream on VPM’s YouTube channel at 11 a.m. Friday.


  • State lawmakers are moving to legalize recreational marijuna. Before they can do that, there are a number of issues that need to be ironed out. VPM reporters Ben Paviour and Whittney Evans took a deep-dive into how the marijuana industry might be set up and how it will affect the criminal justice system.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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