As government officials continue to wrestle with the spread of COVID-19 at the local and state level, keeping track of the constant updates may be a difficult task. Here are today’s bullet points to keep you up to date:
- Teacher’s union says Dallas ISD will allow online teaching from home;
- New Dallas County COVID-19 cases fall below 1,000 Thursday for third day in a row;
- Rep. Colin Allred to host virtual town hall on coronavirus.
Teacher’s Union Says Dallas ISD Will Allow Online Teaching From Home
Teacher’s union Alliance-AFT reported that Dallas ISD (DISD) administrators have reconsidered their position that all teachers would be required to return to campus, even if they were teaching students virtually.
In an email, Alliance-AFT said that DISD “administration has agreed to allow online instruction to take place from your home for those that choose that option.”
“An electronic form is being worked on and teachers will be able to opt to provide distance learning instruction from home rather than from the campus,” the teacher’s union said. “Be prepared to give a rationale for your request.”
Alliance-AFT also said that requests will be re-evaluated every three weeks, based on the status COVID-19 at the time of the request.
Further communications about teaching remotely from home were said to be sent to DISD employees on Thursday morning.
The decision comes after teachers overwhelmingly objected to the potential requirement, which was discussed by DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa and assistant superintendent of learning Leslie Stephens in the media.
Dallas County Cases Fall Below 1,000 for Third Day in a Row
On Thursday, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 648 new positive COVID-19 cases, the third day the county has seen numbers below 1,000. Twelve additional deaths were also reported Thursday, bringing the total number of cases up to 44,087 with 579 deaths.
“Today is our third day below 1,000 cases,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “It’s still a little too early to call this a trend but I’m encouraged by the lowering of the number of new cases.”
Among the 12 deaths reported were a Dallas man in his 30s, five Dallas men in their 60s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Rowlett man in his 80s, two Dallas women in their 90s, and a Richardson man in his 90s. Eight had underlying high risk health conditions, and six had been critically ill in an area hospital.
Five of the individuals were residents of long-term care facilities, one located in Richardson and four in Dallas. Of the 579 total deaths to date, close to a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.
During the first three weeks of July, over 1,200 children under 18 years old were diagnosed with COVID-19. During the same timeframe, 29 children have been hospitalized because of the virus, and since the beginning of June, daycare facilities in the county have reported 98 cases in children and staff from 65 separate daycares in Dallas County since June 1, including three staff members requiring hospitalization.
Of the cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The latest data from the Institute for Urban Policy Research, which collects data from the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, showed 82% of hospitals were reporting, the occupancy rate is almost 72%, 79% of ICU beds were occupied, and 52% of ventilators were in use.
In the report, Jenkins encouraged Dallas residents to avoid activities where masks cannot be worn the entire time, and asked Gov. Abbott to close businesses where it is not possible to do so.
“In the time of COVID-19, there is no reason for traditional bars to be closed but topless bars and cigar bars to remain open,” Jenkins said, recommending residents avoid activities such as in-restaurant dining, youth sports, movie theaters, and more.
Rep. Colin Allred to Host Virtual Town Hall on Coronavirus
To address the pandemic’s effects on the economy and public health, U.S. Rep. Colin Allred will be hosting another telephone town hall Monday, July 27.
“I will give an update on the work I’ve been doing in Congress to secure North Texas’ fair share of federal assistance for relief and recovery, and take your questions,” Allred said in a statement.
The public can listen to the discussion online, during which time Allred will also discuss health concerns with local health experts.
Those interested in attending must RSVP here in order to receive a call from Allred at the time of the event.