As Dallas County reports an uptick in COVID-19 numbers, more students return to campus, and more reopenings appear to be forthcoming, here’s what you need to know today:
- Dallas County reports ‘uptick’ in COVID-19 numbers;
- Abbott hints bars may reopen soon;
- TEA announces more learning solutions for K-12 English and Spanish, and K-5 science.
Dallas County Reports ‘Uptick’ In COVID-19 Numbers
Of the 400 new confirmed cases reported Monday, 204 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ electronic laboratory reporting system, and are all considered new cases.
The additional death reported Monday was of a Grand Prairie woman in her 80s who died in a healthcare facility.
Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 25% have been associated with long-term care facilities.
A provisional total of 226 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children between 5 and 17 years during the week ending Sept. 26. The percentage of cases occurring in young adults aged between 18 and 22 years was 13% for the month of September.
Highland Park ISD reported one case the week ending Sept. 5, seven the week ending Sept. 12, and 23 the week ending Sept. 19, according to DCHHS’ Sept. 29 COVID-19 summary report.
Dallas ISD reported 55 cases in the week ending Sept. 5, 48 in the week ending Sept. 12, and 91 the week ending Sept. 19, according to the report.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age.
“Doctors are now seeing an uptick in Dallas County following the uptick they saw in surrounding counties over the last several weeks,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “With case numbers increasing, it’s more important than ever that you wear a mask and maintain six-foot distance, wash your hands, and avoid unnecessary crowds.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate between gatherings at your home or gatherings of a similar size at business establishments, so if you are around people in any indoor setting, please wear you mask and ask others to wear their mask one hundred percent of the time.”
The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 remains high, the county says, with 10.7% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the week ending Sept. 26.
UT Southwestern Medical Center noted this week that hospitalizations in North Texas are rising again and increased 15% compared to a week ago.
UTSW’s latest model projects total hospitalizations could increase slightly to between 170 and 350 concurrent hospitalized cases by Oct. 16, and roughly 480 new COVID-19 cases per day are expected by Oct. 16.
Abbott Hints Bars May Reopen Soon
Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Monday that he would be announcing more reopenings soon, and not-so-subtly hinted that bars may be among the businesses soon allowed to reopen.
Texans have continued to keep COVID under control.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 5, 2020
The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time.
I will be announcing more openings soon.
“Texans have continued to keep COVID under control,” Abbott posted. “The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time.”
Jenkins noted that the county’s public health committee continues to discourage the reopening of bars at this time.
The Dallas County Public Health Committee, made up of experts in infectious disease and public health, strongly discourages the reopening of bars at this time. Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in daily new cases and hospitalizations in North Texas… https://t.co/NiknzGyziV— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) October 5, 2020
“Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in daily new cases and hospitalizations in North Texas … after the Governor increased occupancy limits in opened businesses.
In a public health crisis, leaders should listen to the doctors and follow the science,” he posted.
Bars have been closed since June 26 because of the pandemic.
Hundreds of bars across the state reclassified as restaurants in the meantime after a ruling from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that allowed bars to reopen as a restaurant even if their total revenue from alcoholic beverages topped 51%, NBCDFW reported.
TEA Announces More Learning Solutions for K-12 English and Spanish, and K-5 Science
The Texas Education Agency Monday announced the next set of instructional materials – covering K-12 English Language Arts and Reading, K-5 Spanish Language Arts and Reading, and K-5 Science – that will be made available to school systems through the Texas Home Learning 3.0 initiative.
Like other THL 3.0 offerings, these instructional materials are optional, digitized, customized for Texas, and aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)—the state standards for what students should know and be able to do.
TEA has partnered with Amplify for K-8 ELAR and K-5 SLAR, Odell Education for 9-12 ELAR, and Great Minds for K-5 Science to develop and deliver this next set of high-quality resources including TEKS-aligned unit and lesson plans. Additional materials will be released on a continuous basis. Before release, all THL 3.0 instructional materials undergo a rigorous review that includes Texas teacher feedback to confirm alignment with TEKS and quality standards. Additional THL 3.0 instructional materials for other subjects and grade levels will be announced over the coming weeks.
“As the pandemic continues to disrupt public education across our state, TEA is committed to supporting schools with effective distance learning resources,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
Amplify’s K-5 Texas Elementary Literacy Program for ELAR and SLAR and 6-8 Amplify ELAR Texas are TEKS-aligned language arts curriculum designed to support Texas learners in the classroom, at home, or wherever learning takes place. Built on the science of teaching reading, the K-5 Amplify Texas Elementary Literacy Program combines foundational skills with content knowledge—so that learning to read and reading to learn develop together. The 6-8 Amplify ELAR Texas program is a TEKS-aligned, blended language arts curriculum that places text at the center of every lesson. Designed specifically for Texas middle schools, this flexible program supports digital, print, and hybrid classrooms.
“We are thrilled to partner with TEA to provide Texas teachers and students with the highest quality reading and language arts programs that align to TEKS standards,” said Larry Berger, chief executive officer of Amplify. “Amplify’s flexible core and supplemental materials will support Texas educators and students whether learning is happening at home, in school, or some of each.”
Odell Education’s Texas High School Literacy Program, which covers 9-12 ELAR, is an innovative program created specifically for Texas high school students and educators. It is designed to support seamless learning in a variety of contexts. The program empowers teachers and students through dynamic activities centered on rich texts and topics as they develop TEKS-aligned literacy skills, habits, and knowledge.
“We are thrilled to partner with Texas educators to develop an exciting new literacy program for the high school students in Texas,” says Odell Education CEO Judson Odell. “Thanks to the tremendous commitment of the Texas Education Agency, Texas high schoolers will have a flexible program for this year and beyond that fosters the literacy they need to thrive wherever their path may lead them.”
Great Minds’ K-5 PhD Science TEKS Edition is a phenomenon-based program in which teachers facilitate the learning, but students own it. In every module, students explore authentic phenomena to build an enduring understanding of core science concepts through hands-on investigations and evidence-based learning. And now it is being adapted to align with the TEKS and, in partnership with TEA through its Texas Home Learning initiative, will be available as an open education resource for all schools and districts in the state.
“Science education should start early, and it should be comprehensive,” says Pam Goodner, Great Minds Chief Academic Officer for Science. “Texas recognizes that students need coherent instruction that builds knowledge from lesson to lesson to develop deep scientific understanding. PhD Science TEKS Edition will deliver what the state is seeking to help students act as scientists to observe, model, investigate, and understand the world around them.”
THL 3.0 is a comprehensive initiative to support school systems, teachers, parents, and students during the public health crisis and beyond with high-quality instructional materials, technology solutions, and professional development resources. TEA previously announced that it will offer all Texas school systems a Learning Management System (LMS) from PowerSchool’s Schoology for two years at no cost. Nearly 400 Texas school systems have already signed up, with another 200 currently engaging with the Schoology team.For more information on Texas Home Learning 3.0, please click here.