Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today announced the extension of Arizona school closures through the end of the school year. The extension follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an announcement from the White House extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020.  Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman released the following joint statement: view article arw

A second Manor school district employee tested positive for the new coronavirus on Thursday, district officials said.  The employee works at Manor Early College High School. Manor school district administrators say the individual was at the school with staff and students before Spring break. District administrators are asking people who were at the campus or in contact with people there to self-monitor and practice social distancing.  On Thursday, Manor district officials announced they were extending school closures through May 1, joining many other districts that have extended school closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.  On Tuesday, Manor district officials said a Manor High School employee had tested positive for the coronavirus. The person was on campus on Monday. They were unaware they had the virus, according to Superintendent Royce Avery (27) view article arw

AUSTIN Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring anyone flying to Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or the city of New Orleans to enter a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  The restrictions will apply only to travelers who fly to Texas from one of those locations — not by roadway — Abbott said, and are part of an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus from other parts of the country. The mandate goes into effect at noon Saturday, and will remain in place until rescinded or superseded.  The New York City region has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., with more than 37,000 confirmed cases and more than 380 deaths in the state of New York alone.  (27) view article arw

Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today announced the extension of Arizona school closures through the end of the school year. The extension follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an announcement from the White House extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020.  Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman released the following joint statement: view article arw

GREGORY, Texas — Gregory-Portland Independent School District officials say they will close all campuses, offices, and facilities to employees.   According to G-PISD, some employees will continue to work on-site as requested and advised by their supervisors, and only with permission from District and Campus Administrators like a Principal, Directors, and/or Leadership Cabinet member.  view article arw

Significantly expanding a mandatory quarantine order for travelers from coronavirus hot spots, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday required those leaving Louisiana by road to enter quarantine for 14 days while in Texas.  Abbott’s latest emergency order also established mandatory quarantines for air travelers from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and any airport in California and Washington state.  The governor said he expanded a quarantine order announced Thursday to reduce the chance of “importing COVID-19 into the state of Texas.”  “The best way to do that is to do all that we can to restrict travel into Texas from areas that have a high rate of COVID-19,” Abbott said, referring to the disease linked to the coronavirus. view article arw

Bexar County’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 17, totaling 157 on Sunday night, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a daily press briefing. There were zero additional deaths, meaning the death toll remains at five.  Fifty of the 157 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized, according to data posted on the city’s website, and 35 patients remain there, the mayor said.  Authorities have determined that 61 of the confirmed cases are due to travel-related causes and 55 are from community transmission, meaning health officials can’t determine where the diagnosed patient became infected. There are 21 confirmed cases attributed to close contact with someone who was already diagnosed. The remaining 20 cases remain under investigation. view article arw

Texas AFT COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

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TEA guidance on staffing issues and teacher evaluations  TEA’s guidance addresses important issues around teacher evaluations with substantial discretion given to districts with a waiver process. Certification renewals, however, will be required as normal. view article arw

The chart above tells you everything you need to know: If we don't take the current shelter-in-place orders seriously, and reduce our social contacts with others by 90% over pre-COVID-19 levels, we'll be out of hospital space by May.  That's what's shown by University of Texas at Austin modeling released Thursday, March 26, two days after local leaders instituted the "Stay Home, Work Safe" orders curtailing all non-"essential" activity and limiting gatherings of any size outside the home. According to Austin Public Health, the guidelines that locals have been gradually adopting over the last three weeks have gotten us to 50% social distancing, so more than halfway, but more needs to happen, and fast. view article arw

When the Express-News asked me to share my thoughts on leadership during this time of crisis, they couldn’t have known how personal the topic would soon become for me: A member of my immediate family subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.  She accessed a test through her health care provider, but she easily could have been one of the many people who have not been able to get tested. Fortunately, she is OK, and she’ll be back on her feet soon. view article arw

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Humble ISD board of trustees voted March 24 to approve a resolution that declared a public health emergency and ensured teachers and staff will continue to be paid.  The meeting was originally scheduled for March 17, but it was postponed amid coronavirus concerns. Instead, trustees and district officials held the meeting via a Zoom conference call on March 24, which was then livestreamed on the HISD website. view article arw

Plenty of parents around the country — and, presumably, around the world — are finding new appreciation for their children’s teachers as they sit at home with their kids during the coronavirus pandemic and take over the role of educator.  Some 1.5 billion students around the world have been affected by school closures during the crisis, and parents whose jobs are not deemed “essential” to keep the country functioning are at home taking over as impromptu teachers. It’s a lot harder than many of them realized, as you can see from the following tweets. view article arw

Officials said the person is one of three employees who reported symptoms this week and had been working on the campus between March 18 through the 20th. view article arw

A Pflugerville High School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, the district said in a statement sent to parents Friday. The staff member, who is not a teacher, showed no symptoms relating to coronavirus until the last weekend of spring break and had no contact with students or staff since March 14, according to the statement. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hospital systems are becoming increasingly strained under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To help, multiple school districts and universities are donating supplies to medical centers in the fight against the spreading coronavirus.  On Thursday, Georgetown, Hutto and Round Rock Independent School Districts donated various personal protective gear to first responders  The districts collected masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection to help healthcare providers defend themselves while working against the spreading COVID-19. view article arw

FORT WORTH A significant set of eyes that once looked out for children was lost once schools were shut down in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.   Organizers of groups dedicated to protecting children and helping families through instances of child abuse speculate that the loss of the involvement of watchful teachers and other school employees has led to a downward trend in child abuse reporting.  This is a predictable occurrence yielding a predictable result, according to Marissa Gonzales, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman. view article arw

The person-to-person spread of the coronavirus in the Houston region would peak in two weeks and burn out by mid-May if the stay-at-home order invoked Tuesday is continued until then, according to modeling by local scientists. The modeling, which informed Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order, considered the effect on the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, if she’d taken the stringent intervention immediately or waited a week or two weeks to act. Spread would increase exponentially had she waited, it found. “From our modeling, it was clear that waiting is not a good thing,” said Eric Boerwinkle, dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health, who conducted the study with a biostatistician at that Houston institution. “The numbers are sobering, but the message is clear: early intervention is better than late intervention and more stringent intervention is better than less stringent.”  (26) view article arw

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Humble ISD board of trustees voted March 24 to approve a resolution that declared a public health emergency and ensured teachers and staff will continue to be paid. The meeting was originally scheduled for March 17, but it was postponed amid coronavirus concerns. Instead, trustees and district officials held the meeting via a Zoom conference call on March 24, which was then livestreamed on the HISD website. view article arw

Tyler – Despite state mandated school closures, Tyler ISD is finding ways to win by going above and beyond. In addition to launching distance learning and food locations to take care of the education and health of our students, Tyler ISD is supporting local hospitals and non-profits. read more arw

BROWNSVILLE – In Cameron County, school staff hand out lesson packets along with meals.  Brownsville Independent School District parents spent up to two hours waiting in line this week for their children's homework packets. At Hanna High School, the lines wrapped in both directions on Price Road spanning almost a mile.  Brownsville ISD Superintendent Rene Gutierrez explained that this is a new process not just for him, but educators nationwide. He feels lucky to have people supporting his district and more importantly, his students.  Watch the video for the full story. view article arw

UT model: Social distancing needs to rise drastically to prevent overwhelming Austin-area hospitals - Austin-Travis County interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott on Thursday said new data from University of Texas modeling the projected spread of the coronavirus showed that reducing personal interactions by 90% in coming weeks would save thousands of lives in the gr eater Austin community alone.  “The data shows us that if we were to go back to school in a week, if we were to turn the restaurants and  bars back on in a week, if we were returned to business as normal in a week, as some have recommended that we do, by the middle of May, we will be in a catastrophe situation like other jurisdictions are facing right now across the United States and across the world,” Escott said. “That is not an option. What we have to do is delay this as long as we can.” view article arw

DALLAS — Dallas school trustees on Thursday approved the purchase of up to 12,000 WiFi hotspots to distribute to students so they can have internet service for distance learning during the coronavirus school shutdown.  This would be DISD’s first mass purchase of hotspots. About 12,000 secondary DISD students already have hotspots purchased with grants and other donations, officials said. view article arw

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – In support of the “Stay at Home” Order issued by Denton County Judge Andy Eads, the following school districts in Denton County announced they have extended districtwide closure through Sunday, April 19. view article arw

As the novel coronavirus continued to make more people sick Wednesday, the Arlington Independent School District extended the cancellation of its classes indefinitely. The district had previously joined the Fort Worth Independent School District in extending its closure through April 3, after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last week closing all Texas schools through that date. But an April 6 reopening is not to be view article arw

Two more Bexar County residents have died of the coronavirus as the number of residents testing positive continues to rise. Bexar County’s death toll from the virus reached five as of late Thursday, with 113 people testing positive, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. That’s up from three deaths and 84 positive results on Wednesday.  Both of those confirmed dead Thursday were women with underlying health conditions, according to City officials. One was in her 40s; the other in her 60s. view article arw

BROWNWOOD, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The Brownwood Independent School District (BISD) says they will try to hold activities for seniors as scheduled in May.  In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, BISD says they “are going to make every effort to give our Seniors a wonderful final experience at BHS.”  The release states that as of March 25 their senior activity plans, including those for elementary school seniors, are scheduled as planned. Those include the following: view article arw

LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Longview ISD announced late Thursday morning that it would be extending its campus closure until April 9 due to a shelter-in-place order handed down by Gregg County.  “We’re going to continue our efforts to provide child nutrition, delivery of instruction, and support to our teachers and staff. This is going to be an ongoing matter that the district leadership will review daily, and make changes in accordance with local and state officials,” said Dr. Wilcox. view article arw

With tens of millions of American students now learning online after their schools closed amid the global coronavirus pandemic, some U.S. senators are urging the Trump administration to take steps to protect personal student data.  “The recent dramatic increase in American children’s use of ed tech offerings creates opportunities, and also carries with it serious privacy challenges and risks to children’s wellbeing,” says the letter from three Democratic senators: Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. view article arw

Seven additional cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Brazos County Health District on Thursday, bringing the total in Brazos County to 28.  Three of the cases are hospitalized, according to the health district. No additional details about the seven new cases were released, but the Brazos County Health District said it would be sharing data graphs on the positive cases soon. The next health district press conference is currently scheduled for Monday at 4:30 p.m. view article arw

According to one study, Louisiana, with more than 2,300 cases as of Thursday afternoon, is experiencing the fastest growth in new cases in the world. Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that the current trajectory of case growth in Louisiana was similar to those in Spain and Italy. This week, President Donald Trump approved the governor’s request for a major disaster declaration, which unlocks additional federal funding to combat the outbreak. view article arw

  • Texas reports 1,396 cases and 18 deaths
  • Texas vaccine expert says social distancing needs more time to work
  • U.S. Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus package
  • Campaigns face uncertainty after runoff postponed   (27)
view article arw

The country’s southern border will close to all nonessential travel and trade in an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Trump administration announced Friday morning. The policy takes effect at midnight Friday. “Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus and ensure the commerce that supports our economy continues to keep flowing,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a morning press conference in Washington, D.C. view article arw

The vast majority of schools in the United States are closed in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, but there are child-care centers that have stayed open — and one expert is calling for them to close. He is Samuel J. Meisels, founding executive director and professor at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, who says: It is inexplicable that programs for children under age 5 — programs that operate on a financial shoestring, that pay their teachers and caregivers barely above minimum wage, and are on the brink of going out of business if their income flow is interrupted — are expected to stay open while primary schools and above are closed. Yet, like children younger than age 5, children ages 5 to 10 or even older cannot be left alone at home if their parents are unavailable. view article arw

The Texas prison system and Dallas County both reported the first Texas cases of inmates testing positive for the new coronavirus this week. Self-quarantines and social distancing aren't always possible for those who've been exposed. view article arw

Following the footsteps of other Central Texas governments, Hays County has issued a stay-at-home order to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus.  The order goes into effect at 11 p.m. Thursday and lasts through 4 a.m. April 10. It requires Hays County residents to stay at home except for essential activities or to operate essential businesses.  Travis and Williamson counties implemented similar orders that went into effect early Wednesday. view article arw