As Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is named 2020 Urban Educator of the Year, he’s also tasked with navigating the district through a pandemic – while COVID-19 cases once again soar. Here’s what you need to know today:
- Hinojosa earns highest education honor: 2020 Urban Educator of the Year;
- Dallas County reports 581 new positive 2019 COVID-19 cases;
- Governor Abbott appoints 10 to Task Force;
- U.S. Marine Corps veteran Stanley “Vic” Victrum tapped to lead the Dallas County Veteran Services Department.
Dallas County Reports 581 New Positive 2019 COVID-19 Cases
Dallas County health officials Thursday reported 589 additional positive cases of COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 88,372 confirmed cases (PCR test), including 1,059 confirmed deaths. There were 52 additional probable cases (antigen test) reported, for a total of 4,476 probable cases including 13 probable deaths.
Of the 537 new confirmed, 324 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ electronic laboratory reporting system, and eight are from older months.
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The additional death being reported today includes the following:
- A Dallas man in his 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high-risk health conditions
The provisional 7-day average daily new confirmed and probable cases (by date of test collection) for CDC week 40 was 374, an increase from the previous daily average of 346 for CDC week 37. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 remains high with 10.0% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in week 40 (week ending 10/3/20).
A provisional total of 283confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 40, an increase from the previous week in this age group.
Of all confirmed 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. Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 24% have been associated with long-term care facilities. New cases are being reported as a daily aggregate, with a more detailed summary report updated Tuesdays and Fridays.
Local health experts use hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and ER visits as three of the key indicators as part of determining the COVID-19 Risk Level (color-coded risk) and corresponding guidelines for activities during our COVID-19 response. There were 376 COVID-19 patients in acute care in Dallas County for the period ending on Wednesday, October 14. The number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County was 472 for the 24 hour period ending on Wednesday, October 14, which represents around 18 percent of all emergency department visits in the county according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council. You can find additional information on risk-level monitoring data here.
“Today we’re reporting a total of 589 cases, 581 of which are new, including 52 positive antigen tests which are coded as ‘probable,'” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “For ease of understanding the numbers, antigen tests are coded as probable and PCR tests are coded as confirmed. Please note that we have moved back into the ‘Red’ in our color-coded chart/COVID-19 risk for extreme caution and staying safe and staying home whenever possible.
‘It’s critical with the uptick and the increases that we’ve seen in our hospitals, including a doubling of COVID-19 cases in hospitals over the last month for our region, that we all make good choices to turn the tide and get our numbers going in a good direction again,” he added. “We are on the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 cases if we do not modify behavior, and with talk of bars opening and increased capacity in other commercial buildings, there is a false sense of security. Given that our numbers are going in the wrong direction, we must turn things around now.”
Hinojosa earns highest education honor: 2020 Urban Educator of the Year
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa was named the 2020 Urban Educator of the Year, during the 64th Annual Council of the Great City Schools Fall Conference (Council) held virtually this year.
Hinojosa was selected from among 20 big-city school district superintendents up for the nation’s highest honor in urban education leadership. The recognition, also known as the Green-Garner Award, honors an outstanding superintendent or school board member, in alternating years, from 76 of the nation’s largest urban public-school systems.
A graduate of Dallas ISD, Hinojosa has served two stints at the helm of the second-largest school district in Texas. Since his return to the district in 2015, he has helped lead many big initiatives, including the passage of a $1.6 billion bond – the largest in district history – and established the district’s customer service program focused on enhancing the stakeholder experience.
Under his leadership, the district continues to make steady gains in student achievement over the last three years. Of considerable note, Hinojosa has also spearheaded an effort to increase internet access and connectivity for all, under Operation Connectivity. His efforts ultimately led to the formation of an Operation Connectivity Task Force, bringing together North Texas K-12 technology officers, the Texas Urban Council of big-city superintendents, and the Council to permanently solve the issue of connectivity at the state and national levels. He has also worked to increase the number of people of color and women in the district’s leadership rank.
“Michael Hinojosa has been a true champion for urban education and his passion for equity and excellence has had a profound effect on how all of us advocate for our urban students,” says Council Executive Director Michael Casserly. “Over his 41-year career his dedication and humility have made a difference in the lives of the students he serves and there could be no one more deserving of this award.”
Sponsored by the Washington, D.C.- based Council, Cenergistic, Curriculum Associates, and K-12 Insight, the top prize is presented each year in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman and former Denver school board member, Edward Garner.
As the recipient of the 2020 Green-Garner Award, Hinojosa receives a $10,000 college scholarship to present to a student in the Dallas Independent School District.
Governor Abbott Appoints Ten To Task Force
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Stephanie Duke, Barbara “Kay” Kizer, and Captain John Spann to the Task Force on Disaster Issues Affecting Persons who are Elderly and Persons with Disabilities for terms set to expire on February 1, 2021.
Additionally, he appointed Becky Ames, Neva Fairchild, Chief Carlos Garcia, and Patrick Sturdivant for terms set to expire on February 1, 2023 and appointed Kristina Henning, Tim McIntosh, and Marco Trevino for terms set to expire on February 1, 2025.
Abbott named Chief Carlos Garcia as chair of the Task Force. The Task Force on Disaster Issues Affecting Persons Who Are Elderly and Persons Who Are Disabled will study methods to more effectively accommodate persons who are elderly and persons with disabilities before, during, and after a disaster or emergency evacuation.
Neva Fairchild of Dallas is the National Aging and Vision Loss Specialist for the American Foundation for the Blind. She is president of The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the newsletter editor of American Council of the Blind of Texas. Fairchild received a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Tapped to Lead the County Veteran Services Department
The Dallas County Commissioners Court appointed U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Stanley “Vic” Victrum as the new Director of Veteran Services.
Victrum is no stranger to Dallas County government, having previously served as the County’s Chief Information Officer from August 2011 to August 2020. Prior to his service with Dallas County, Victrum served as one of the assistant city managers and as the Chief Information Officer for the City of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Prior to that, Victrum served as the Director of Information Technology for Gaston County, North Carolina, as the Director of Information Technology for the City of Albany, Georgia and as the Information Services Manager at the National Headquarters of Vanguard Cellular Systems in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Victrum has an extensive background with the United States Marine Corps, having served on active duty from October 1976 to September 1993 as a Radio Communications Enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and as Data Systems Officer, rising to the rank of Captain. His first duty station in the Fleet Marine Force was with the First Marine Brigade in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where he served with the Second Battalion of the Third Marine Infantry Regiment as a Field Radio Operator and as a Field Wire Chief in the Battalion Communications Platoon. After being selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning and Education Program and graduating from College, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Marines and subsequently served as a Data Systems Officer with the Central Data Processing Activity at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia, as a Development Project Officer with the Research Development and Acquisition Command at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia and as the Information System Management Officer for the First Marine Brigade in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. In September 1993, after the First Gulf War, he transferred to the United States Marine Corps Reserves, rising to the rank of Major, and was honorably discharged in November 2003.
Victrum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics (Magna Cum Laude) from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a Master of Ministry degree (Summa Cum Laude) from the Queen City Bible College in Charlotte, North Carolina.
After being appointed to lead the Veteran Services Department, Victrum noted, “The County Veteran Services Office has a truly dedicated team of seasoned and professional Veterans Service Officers, with the team doing a great job of adeptly assisting those in the Dallas County Veterans Community with their claims for Veteran benefits. I’m very excited to join and lead the team to maintain and enhance the level of Veteran services provided to those who have faithfully served and protected our Nation, in times of war and peace and at home and abroad.”