13 April 2020

Capitol Update: The Latest Coronavirus Developments

Though this Easter season may feel different, the message embodied by this Holy day could not be more appropriate for today. While we find ourselves in a season of uncertainty – wondering and worrying about what’s to come – it is my sincere hope that we find refuge and strength in celebrating the greatest triumph this world has ever witnessed. As Scripture reminds us, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11

With that, here’s the latest information on our state’s fight against the coronavirus. . .

Coronavirus Update

Since my last column, Governor Abbott issued another executive order implementing essential services and activities protocols. In accordance with guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this executive order renews the Governor’s request for Texans to stay home unless we are taking part in essential services and activities. For a comprehensive list of essential services, as defined by DHS, please follow the link provided at the bottom of the page.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has updated their website to include helpful links to information on testing, symptoms, prevention tips, and what to do if you’re sick. I would encourage you to use this site (link below) as your primary source for information regarding the virus, as it is updated regularly with factual data that has been tested and proven by experts.

With students temporarily out of school, it’s important that we continue keeping them engaged in learning activities and projects. As parents, we can keep our kiddos engaged by encouraging curiosity through at home projects, taking virtual field trips, or having a designated study space to help our kids focus. Additionally, The Texas Education Agency recently launched the Texas Home Learning Model, which supports quality at-home learning for students by providing daily and weekly learning plans in all grades that can be started immediately in a student’s home environment. While the utilization of the Texas Home Learning Model is optional, and provided as a contingency option for school districts, this is a great tool that helps provide educational resources to students and parents at home.

In an effort to process an unprecedented increase in unemployment claims, state and federal regulations have been loosened so that some who have previously been denied may now have access to unemployment benefits. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has also hired hundreds of additional specialists to help process calls and claims. If you have previously been denied unemployment benefits, or have had trouble contacting TWC, I would encourage you to reapply via their website or visit with a TWC staff person to determine the next step forward.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

Online Resources

Essential Services — http://www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices

Texas Department of State Health Services — https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

Texas Home Learning — https://texashomelearning.org/

Texas Workforce Commission — https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services

Leave a Reply