New Cases, PPE Shortages And Other Misfortunes Plague Public Schools, Mayor Johnson Proposes Salary Cuts For Public Safety And More.

It’s the first of September and rent is due, schools are back in session and these past few days have tested both those struggling to do the former, as well as those affected by the latter.

A lot has happened since we last checked in. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments in North Texas:

  • On Monday, Dallas County reported 460 additional cases and one new death. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Dallas County to 71,630, and the death toll to 902. 168 of Monday’s cases are older, as they are reported from the state’s ongoing backlog.

  • Currently, 3,953 out of 5,942 hospital beds in Dallas are occupied, which brings the total occupancy to approximately 67 percent. 587 out of 993 ICU beds are filled, while 322 out of 993 ventilators are in use.

  • In an effort to allocate more funds to anti-pandemic initiatives, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has proposed a $6.5 million cut in city salaries for workers making more than $60,000 a year. The Dallas City Council will vote on this proposed amendment on Wednesday. Johnson insists that these proposed salary cuts are intended to prevent furloughs and layoffs. He also suggested savings be used for public safety spending, which includes 50 “civilian positions” within the Dallas Police Department, as well as increased lighting in “high-violence” areas.
  • Back-to-school season has already started on a sour note at Keller ISD’s Indian Springs Middle School. The school’s fifth grade students were sent back home to quarantine on account of three positive COVID-19 cases among the school’s staff. As a result, all 145 students will have to take online classes for two weeks.
  • DeSoto ISD is left to deal with a shortage in personal protective equipment after a fire destroyed most of its supply. The fire happened at a supply and equipment warehouse at 200 W. Parkerville Road. The district had an emergency meeting on Sunday, where trustees authorized an $87,000 replacement.
  • Effective September 8, all school districts will be required to file weekly reports documenting new COVID-19 cases to the Texas Education Agency and the Department of State Health Services. “We heard loud and clear from our pilot group of superintendents that folks are being pulled in different directions,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Thursday. “We are working to try and minimize duplicate data entry as much as possible with our public health partners.” All reports from the statewide database will be updated by district.
  • A group of local activists are staging a protest at Senator John Cornyn’s Dallas office on Tuesday, Sept. 1 to protest Congress’ imminent end of pandemic relief. Eater reports the protest will be carried out by North Texas Democratic Socialists, Dallas Stop Evictions, as well as service and hospitality industry labor unions. The groups’ demands include an additional $600 in monthly unemployment benefits, extension of an eviction moratorium and more.
  • Fort Worth is preparing to allocate nearly $9 million of CARES Act relief money in a second round of business grants under the “Preserve the Fort” initiative. Application openings and deadlines have not been officially announced yet, but are expected on the initiative’s website. For more information including the terms of eligibility, click here.
  • Garland ISD is offering $500 grants to support teachers and staff as the school year begins. From now until September 11, the district has opened applications for staff members at various levels to help transition into hybrid forms of learning. The district also plans to release another round of grants in October for specific grades and departments. Additionally, the district is offering free pre-k specifically for 4-year-old children for the 2020-2021 academic year.

That concludes our biweekly COVID-19 news roundup. Be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. That is, if you want the old Persian proverb of “This too shall pass,” to come to fruition.

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