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VPM Daily Newscast: July 27, 2021

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

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, July 27, 2021: 

  • Yesterday was the first day of school for all K-12 students in Hopewell Public Schools. Hopewell is the first in Virginia to resume classes districtwide for the next school year. Megan Pauly spoke to students about how they feel returning to class in person. 

  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was in Hopewell to take part in the back-to-school activities. He used the opportunity to announce his intention to invest in public school ventilation systems. Northam is earmarking $250 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to pay for the updates. Virginia lawmakers still have to sign off on any ARP allocations, which they’ll discuss next week. If approved, localities will have to apply for funding, and match any amount awarded. 

  • Education advocates are heading to Petersburg today as part of the Crumbling Schools tour. The event is meant to highlight school infrastructure needs throughout the state, with the hopes that lawmakers will take notice. Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reports. 

  • The Virginia Department of Corrections is ending its contract with a private medical provider in an effort to improve health care in state facilities, according to the Virginia Mercury. Armor Correctional Health, based in Miami, has been contracted by the state since 2014 and serves about half of the state’s prisons. But, a recent report from legislative auditors found that private providers did not save the state money, and that staffing and other issues were more prevalent at facilities overseen by Armor. The state first began shifting away from Armor after settling a lawsuit in 2018 over poor medical care at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. The current relationship with Armor is expected to remain in place for at least a year during the conversion. 

  • The hotel industry, hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is having a tough time recovering. While tourists are hitting Virginia's beaches and historic sites, business travel hasn’t rebounded, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported last week. And even in hotels where there is demand, there’s a desperate need for staffing. The hotel industry in Virginia lost more than 16,000 jobs when the pandemic shut down businesses last year. Only 3,700 of those positions have been refilled according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. 

  • In a new court filing, the City of Virginia Beach now says Donovan Lynch, the Black man who was fatally shot by Beach Police in March, was pointing a gun at the officer. Ryan Murphy of partner station WHRV has more.