KAGS: TEA offers free beginning-of-year assessments

KAGS: TEA offers free beginning-of-year assessments. “The Texas Education Agency is offering a new tool for parents and districts concerned about how much their kids retained last school year. With COVID-19 interrupting the 2019-2020 school year, They are offering beginning of year assessments for districts and parents. Kids can be registered for a free, optional online test to measure their knowledge and skills from last school year.”

Dallas News: Even Big Tex can’t avoid the mask debate, becoming biggest target in COVID-19 political divide

Dallas News: Even Big Tex can’t avoid the mask debate, becoming biggest target in COVID-19 political divide. “With a height of 55 feet, Big Tex will always maintain the recommended six feet of social distance from the visitors at Dallas’ Fair Park. But the animatronic statue — erected on Wednesday to commemorate the canceled State Fair of Texas — is wearing a mask anyway, showing solidarity with Texans and becoming a flash point in the debate over mandated face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Texas Tribune: Share of positive COVID-19 cases as Texas reopened was higher than originally reported, new state calculations show

Texas Tribune: Share of positive COVID-19 cases as Texas reopened was higher than originally reported, new state calculations show. “State health officials published new data this week that showed the state’s coronavirus positivity rate was higher in the spring than originally disclosed, even as public officials cited the data to justify business reopenings during the pandemic.”

University of Texas at Austin: New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities

University of Texas at Austin: New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities. “The University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread and impact of the virus, including in hospitals across Texas, with detailed information for 22 areas.”

KXAN: Texas teachers union launches COVID-19 website to track cases in schools

KXAN: Texas teachers union launches COVID-19 website to track cases in schools. ” The Texas American Federation of Teachers is launching a new website to track COVID-19 cases, deaths and unsafe working conditions in Texas schools. The tracker, developed in a partnership between Texas AFT and national nonprofit United for Respect, will allow teachers, school employees and community members to report key COVID-19 data. Users will be able to search by district and campus and see reports on a map of Texas, according to a media advisory from Texas AFT.”

Texas Tribune: A South Texas chaplain prayed with his hospice patients. Then the coronavirus came for him.

Texas Tribune: A South Texas chaplain prayed with his hospice patients. Then the coronavirus came for him.. “The hospital where he had previously ministered to terminally ill patients was full when Adolfo Alvarado Jr. neared death in his Mission home. He was finally admitted, and his daughter watched on her laptop as he died.”

Reform Austin News: New Texas Supreme Court Order Allows Citation by Social Media

Reform Austin News: New Texas Supreme Court Order Allows Citation by Social Media. “Imagine getting served divorce papers via Facebook where all your friends can see? What about finding out you are being sued on Twitter? The Texas Supreme Court is now allowing process service for civil cases via social media, email or other electronic technology if the traditional service of papers in-person or by mail fails.”

Texas Tribune: In shift, Texas begins publishing some data on coronavirus cases at child care centers

Texas Tribune: In shift, Texas begins publishing some data on coronavirus cases at child care centers. “The Texas Health and Human Services Commission published a spreadsheet on its website Thursday showing COVID-19 cases in 1,867 child care facilities, summer camps, and before- and after-school programs in 127 counties. It excludes the names and addresses of child care centers run out of homes, but the agency included total cases from home-based centers in a separate spreadsheet.”

‘So many bodies … I lost count’: The grim business moving Latino coronavirus victims as death toll spikes (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: ‘So many bodies … I lost count’: The grim business moving Latino coronavirus victims as death toll spikes. “The spike in COVID-19 cases is contributing to a disproportionate number of Latinos dying statewide. As of Saturday, 826 people had died of the disease in the valley, about 12% of the state total,even though the area accounts for about 5% of Texas’ population. Half of the 6,837 Texans who died of COVID-19 were Latino, according to state health figures, although Latinos make up about 40% of the population. Many of those dying are uninsured and have underlying health conditions. And in Texas, the largest state to refuse to expand health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, nearly a third of adults under age 65 are uninsured, the highest rate in the country. ”

Houston Chronicle: Houston Exponential launches database to pull together the city’s tech community

Houston Chronicle: Houston Exponential launches database to pull together the city’s tech community. “Houston Exponential [last] Thursday unveiled a new database that brings together details about the city’s nascent technology ecosystem, making it easy to find out details about startups, venture funding and accelerators.”

‘A part of us died’: Along the Texas-Mexico border, a coronavirus crisis (Houston Chronicle)

Houston Chronicle: ‘A part of us died’: Along the Texas-Mexico border, a coronavirus crisis. “Six adults in the Treviño family battled COVID-19 for weeks in the hospital and in their small three-bedroom home close to the border with Mexico. Five survived. The sixth, Maria Treviño, 79, was laid to rest Tuesday amid acres of flowers and graves in the Garden of Angels cemetery that abuts the Rio Grande. The family’s tears slid into their masks as Luis Chavez, 36, played long, sorrowful notes on his trumpet.”

Vox: Nursing home deaths in Texas rose 64 percent in the past 2 weeks

Vox: Nursing home deaths in Texas rose 64 percent in the past 2 weeks. “When coronavirus cases began to spike again, experts outlined the worst-case scenario: that those spikes, initially concentrated among younger people who were more cavalier once businesses reopened, would eventually migrate to older people — particularly long-term care facilities, where so many seniors have already died from Covid-19. And now, according to a new data analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, it seems those fears are being realized. The question is how bad it will get.”

Texas Tribune: With 1,000 new coronavirus fatalities in Texas in just 6 days, the state’s death count is rising faster

Texas Tribune: With 1,000 new coronavirus fatalities in Texas in just 6 days, the state’s death count is rising faster. “Texas reached another grim milestone Sunday when it surpassed 5,000 deaths from the new coronavirus. In doing so, the state reported 1,000 deaths in six days, four days faster than it took to hit that total the previous time.”

The Hill: GOP governors in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida see approval sink

The Hill: GOP governors in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida see approval sink. “Republican governors four states with surging coronavirus case numbers have seen their approval ratings sink in recent weeks, according to survey data obtained by Axios. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp all had disapproval ratings of 55 percent or higher in the survey taken between July 13 and July 19.”

Houston Chronicle: As COVID cases exploded, workers on Texas’ $295 million contact tracing deal did little to no work

Houston Chronicle: As COVID cases exploded, workers on Texas’ $295 million contact tracing deal did little to no work. “Just as coronavirus infections began rising a few weeks ago in Texas, contract workers hired by the state to track down exposed Texans were spending hours doing little or no work, received confusing or erroneous instructions and often could not give people the advice they expected, interviews and records indicate. Health authorities around Texas also say they are running into technical snags with new contact tracing software the state has deployed, known as Texas Health Trace, saying it isn’t ready for widespread use in their counties.”