City News

Y'all stay home

Fort Worth further amends stay-at-home, work safe declaration for COVID-19

The City Council on Thursday unanimously voted to extend an emergency stay-at-home declaration for the City of Fort Worth through April 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

These restrictions remain in place:

Individuals are to stay at home. However, individuals may leave their residences for essential travel, essential activities or to provide or perform essential governmental functions or to operate essential businesses. This includes traveling to work at an essential business, traveling for the health of yourself or another person, leaving to get food and supplies or getting outside to exercise.

To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person. This does not require a household or living unit to social distance when at home.

Essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and other establishments that sell household goods will remain open but must enforce social distancing.

A list of essential and non-essential businesses is below. (For specific information about businesses, call 817-392-8478 or email Covid19@FortWorthTexas.gov.

In-house dining at restaurants is prohibited. Restaurants with or without drive-in or drive-through services; drive-in restaurants; drive-through restaurants; liquor stores; and microbreweries, micro-distilleries or wineries may only provide takeout, delivery or drive-in or drive-through services, as allowed by law.

All businesses operating within the City of Fort Worth, except essential businesses, are required to close to the public.

Businesses that are closed to the public may continue operations consisting exclusively of the following, as long as social distancing of a least six feet is maintained between all employees and contractors during the activities:

All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited. This does not prohibit the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
All elective medical procedures are prohibited.

If someone in a household has tested positive for COVID-19, the whole household is ordered to isolate at home.

Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.

All in-person worship services remain prohibited, with the exception of worship support staff to facilitate online services.


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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION

Dear Friend,

It's my duty as your Member of Congress in Washington to provide the 6th District with the most up to date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19). I remain in constant contact with Governor Abbott's office, state and local health officials, and the CDC. My staff and I will continue to use this platform to pass along any information.

TEXAS 211 COVID-19 HOTLINE:

2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905, Select Option 6, and find information about COVID-19.

211 specialists across the state are available 24/7 to answer the most frequently asked, nonmedical, questions based on material provided by DSHS and CDC. Questions 211 specialists can't answer will be referred to DSHS and local Public Health Department COVID-19 info lines.

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TEXAS DSHS UPDATE (MARCH 20):

The Texas Department of State Health Services is tracking cases of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. DSHS will update the state case count each day by noon Central Time. Numbers are current as of 8 p.m. the day before reporting.

On March 19, 2020, Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, declared a public health disaster in Texas, because COVID-19 "has created an immediate threat, poses a high risk of death to a large number of people, and creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease's method of transmission and evidence that there is community spread in Texas."

Total people tested: 5,277

The cases are in the following counties:

For more information on COVID-19, visit: dshs.texas.gov

TAX FILING GUIDELINES:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that tax day will be delayed from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. If you are expecting a refund, I encourage everyone to file now so you can receive your refund as soon as possible.

For more information, click here to be taken to the IRS website. IRS coronavirus

Texas has been approved for an Emergency Designation For Small Business Disaster Loans From U.S. Small Business Administration:

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has included the entire state of Texas in its Economic Injury Disaster Declaration and granted access to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which will provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state. Texas small businesses who believe they may be eligible for an SBA EIDL should visit www.sba.gov/disaster where they can directly apply for assistance. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about loan eligibility.

small business admin loan process

GOVERNOR ABBOTT ISSUES NEW EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

Order No. 1 - In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

Order No. 2 - In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.

Order No. 3 - In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Order No. 4 - In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVD-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.

For more information, click here: Governor Abbott Orders

PRESIDENT ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES:

The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to slow the spread of Coronavirus in the United States, including an instruction to Americans to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people. The full White House guidelines are below.

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PHYSICAL DISTANCING:

Everyone has a role to play to reduce and slow transmission of COVID-19. Physical distancing is one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means avoiding crowded places and maintaining SIX FEET distance from others, when possible.

For more on Physical distancing and prevention tips, click here. social distancing

BELOW ARE MORE TIPS ON HOW TO STAY HEALTHY AT HOME:

safe at home

Stay Healthy at Work Tips

safe at work

TRAVEL:

CLICK HERE FOR MORE TRAVEL INFORMATION from the CDC IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL, CLICK HERE TO SEE TRAVEL ADVISORIES.

FURTHER ASSISTANCE:

If you or someone you know are returning from an affected country and need assistance or are having trouble returning to the United States, please contact Jodi Saegesser from my office at 817-775-0370.

If you or a loved one are currently in China and need immediate assistance, please contact the U.S. State Department at CoronaVirusEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

If you are in Texas and have COVID-19 questions or concerns, please contact the Texas Department of State and Health Services at coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov, or call 877-570-9779.

Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced that Texas now has the ability to test for COVID19 at 10 centers across the state.

For more local assistance please click here to see the COVID-19 Local Health Entities.

My office is here to help. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns on COVID-19. Thank you for taking the time to read, and please forward this information to family and friends who you think would be interested.

Is this email was forwarded to you, and you would like to sign up to receive COVID-19 updates, click here.

Sincerely,

Ron signature



Neighborhood News

WASH YOUR HANDS

Now more than ever, it's important to utilize proper handwashing techniques. Washing your hands regularly helps avoid the spread of germs and the risk of infection. Follow our handwashing guide to stay healthy.


HHSC Launches Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line

AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.

"Through this new effort, we are connecting Texans with mental health professionals who can help provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed," said Sonja Gaines, Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. "It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are not uncommon to experience in the face of a rapidly changing situation like a pandemic."

Operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, the support line offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. Counseling services are confidential and free of charge to people who call the hotline.

"It is important to recognize how our mental health can be affected by the pandemic," said Sen. Jane Nelson. "The mental health support line for COVID-19 will go a long way to ensure Texans who are struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues can access the care they need."

For general health-related information and precautions on COVID-19, people can visit the DSHS webpage and the CDC webpage. To stay up-to-date on the latest news impacting HHS services and regulated providers, people can visit the HHS COVID-19 webpage.

For more information on mental health resources, find your local mental health authority here.


Fort Worth ISD Schools Closed 'Until Further Notice'

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner has announced that schools will remain closed and students will remain at home, receiving online instruction until further notice.

Fort Worth ISD Prepares Teachers and Students to Go Back to School - Online

Fort Worth ISD is getting back to school – online.

FWISD Outlines Tasks before Teaching and Learning Moves Online

At Fort Worth ISD, teachers and students are preparing to get back to school – online.

Watch Superintendent Scribner's special video message to learn what students, families, and teachers are being asked to do this week before the launch of Learning at Home in April.

The week of March 30th is an orientation week, a time for students, their families, and teachers to make every effort to transition to Learning at Home, the online, teacher-guided learning experience that begins in April.

Amid ongoing school closures to curb the coronavirus, the District, for the first time ever, is putting curricula online and training all teachers to instruct virtually.

"The equitable delivery of high quality, online instruction to our 84,000 students is a massive undertaking," said FWISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. "And, doing it in such a short time requires intense planning and accepting the reality that it's a transition that still has to be done in phases."

In the first phase, immediately after spring break, the District not only mobilized to make sure students continued to get meals they would normally receive at school, but also arranged online engagement activities and other resources for students and their families.

After that, FWISD provided students with two weeks of lesson plans tied to learning objectives. Now, in the second week of those lesson plans, the District is directing teachers to set up their online learning environments. At the same time, the District continues to make sure students get the internet access and devices they need to learn at home.

The District has also asked teachers to:

Fort Worth ISD has steered teachers to the District's Learning at Home website for creating their online classrooms. The site includes links to multiple webinars and videos using Edgenuity, It's learning, Google Classroom, and other resources that support virtual teaching and learning. For teachers who missed a flex day opportunity in March, FWISD will count as flex hours the learning from these videos.

Parents and students should expect to hear from their teachers this week. And, before the week's end, FWISD will update families on where the District is in getting all systems in place to begin online learning in April.

More information will also follow on resources for families, including a Parent-at-a-Glance feature on the Learning at Home website. This is where families will be able to see the learning objectives set for their child. The District has already listed contact information for all elementary and secondary principals on the website, encouraging parents who need to get in touch with their campus to email their principal.

Fort Worth ISD is committed to open channels of communication in order to learn of problems as they pop up and be able to find solutions quicker.

-FWISD-
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and the Fort Worth ISD Mobile App for the latest information.


By order of the Texas Governor, community events are cancelled

View the Events page for information on cancellations & reschedule dates.


FORT WORTH

View live daily updates on the COVID-19 situation in Fort Worth

Mayor Betsy Price will present updates at 6 p.m. Monday-Friday on how the city is addressing the COVID-19 health concern.

The daily broadcast will be available for viewing live on the city's website. Cable customers can also watch it on their local Municipal Channel. Check your program guide for the channel for your provider.

The briefing will also be a Facebook Live on these Facebook pages:

Along with Mayor Price, the city's public health official, fire chief (a registered Nurse), police chief and other city officials will provide updates on COVID-19 operations and will answer residents' questions.

There will be a briefing in Spanish following the 6 p.m. broadcast and included in all platforms.

Videos of the daily updates will also be posted on the City of Fort Worth YouTube channel. FW Youtube


Senator Powell

Senator Beverly Powell has created a site just to keep up with all the Covid-19 closings, state & local health orders, community & state resources, testing info, etc. Learn more here:

Covid19


City of Fort Worth update (as of Thurs. March 19) in both English & Spanish: Fort Worth Updates


Five Steps For Dealing With Social Isolation

In downtown Austin, a hopeful message can be seen on a movie theater marquee. It reads: "IN ORDER FOR US TO BE ALL TOGETHER, FOR NOW WE MUST REMAIN APART."

By now, you've gotten the message: Voluntary social distancing is key to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. And for most of us, lying low for a while should be a small sacrifice to make for the greater good of everyone. Still, separating ourselves from one another is not without its challenges. And it's useful to remember that chronic social isolation, particularly among older adults, can be unhealthy.

"Being socially isolated can be unhealthy," said Amanda Fredriksen, an associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP Texas. "We know that people who are socially isolated, particularly older adults, have a significant risk of early death, as well as dementia and heart disease."

There are academic studies on the subject of socially isolated adults. AARP reports have stated that social isolation significantly increases the risk of death among older adults. In fact, one study has likened the detrimental health effects of isolation to those associated with smoking up to 15 cigarettes every day.

Social isolation is more common among older folks. They are more likely to live alone. They may have experienced the loss of a spouse or friend, and they are more likely to have chronic health issues that limit mobility to inside their house.

Combating isolation is essential during this time, but being physically surrounded by others isn't necessarily the only answer. Here are some ways that can help everyone contend with isolation in their own homes.

1. Make use of what you have. We live in a world interconnected by technology. "Making use of video technology with smart phones and computers is a great way to connect with family and friends," said Fredriksen. There are also other ways to stay busy online. Many websites offer free subscriptions to watch movies, or you can rent a book online. If you feel comfortable using the Internet, digital applications like social media, or video phone calls with friends and loved ones may help.

2. Pick up the phone and call a friend. For those who don't have internet access, a phone call can be an alternative to using social media. "Everybody seems to have a little more time right now. So why not take the time to connect with some folks you haven't had a chance to talk to lately?" Fredriksen encourages others to not feel shy about reaching out to people that you don't get to talk to on a regular basis.

3. Get up and move! Social isolation doesn't mean you can't continue to be active. However, a lot depends on where you live and how vulnerable you are. "If you can safely get out and stretch your legs, walk to the mailbox, walk in your neighborhood… that's good," she said. "But for some people, that may just mean taking a walk around your yard." said Fredriksen. Just don't forget to keep a six-foot (or more) distance between you and others.

4. Find your creative outlet. Find what nurtures your inner creativity and incorporate that into your daily routine. Whether you are passionate about adult coloring books, learning a new skill by watching online videos, completing jigsaw puzzles or writing a letter, take this time to focus on what best cultivates your creative expression.

5. Keep tabs on your mental health. Social isolation can cause people to withdraw and become disconnected from family, friends and community. In 2018, this particular public health epidemic affected more than 8 million age 50-plus adults. Fredriksen recommends that those who are experiencing symptoms of isolation to "talk to their doctor, to their healthcare professional, to a counselor." And the good news is that for many people in some places, they can have those conversations remotely via telehealth services.

If you're self-monitoring yourself or a loved one, it is important to spot symptoms of social isolation in ourselves and others and to take steps to combat it early, because it can become a serious hazard not only to mental health but physical health, too.

Signs that a person might be isolated:

Fredriksen, who leads AARP Texas' advocacy work in the area of long-term care services and supports, also offers advice for caregivers who are looking after those who may be socially isolated.

"It's important for caregivers to remember that as they may be taking a little bit more risk in support of helping their loved ones," she said. "They need to be careful about their own health and be careful that they're not exposing their loved ones to potential health risks." It can be difficult to remember to care for yourself. But it in the long run, it can save a life.


Did you know that after the 2020 census, Fort Worth will need to redraw the city council maps to create 10 council districts, up from the current 8 districts. Who should redraw these maps? Citizens or the current City Council? Citizens for Independent Redistricting is advocating for citizens drawn maps to keep our neighborhood representation cohesive.


FORT WORTH CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING NEWS

Contact: Fernando Florez, 817.239.0578 rfflorez@juno.com
CitizensMapFW.org

citizens for Independent redistricting logo

Friends,

Fort Worth is at a crossroads. As we mentioned in our recent email (which you may access below), the city's population has increased from 393,476 in the 1980 Census to an estimated 895,008 in 2018 and it's now majority-minority. Although it's hardly mentioned today, Fort Worth is not the same city it used to be. The city council today does not accurately represent the population. The main reason for that can be attributed to the way and by whom city council districts are drawn.

Many people feel that the lack of fair representation on the city council is the root cause of much of the unrest we've seen in the city recently and for turmoil at the city council itself. (We've said it before: The current mayor and the city council members are not to be blamed for the city not having a fair system of drawing city council district maps. They inherited the system we now have.)

We are at a crossroads because the city now has a great opportunity to change the method of drawing city council districts, which will result in less gerrymandering and possibly more diversity and better representation for all segments of the population on the city council. Change is never easy, but the city must seize this opportunity. We recognize that and that's the reason we are advocating for citizen independent redistricting. Citizen independent redistricting was also one of the recommendations made by the Race and Culture Task Force.

We are all volunteers in this group trying to do what's best for our city. We've had good response to our recent email; we've had some outstanding letters to the mayor, the city manager and council members and appreciate that very much. But we need more of them. We need more people to summon their energy and courage (Yes, courage, because it's hard to be a risk-taker, speak truth to power and possibly suffer some consequences).

Learn more about redistricting at CitizensMapFW.org

Many, many thanks.

Byrwec Ellison
Fernando Florez
Bruce Miller


New eastside Reby Cary Library

The ground breaking ceremony was postponed, and will happen after the emergency orders are lifted. IT WILL BE BUILT.

Architectural rendering of the new Reby Cary Youth Library

An architectural rendering of the new Reby Cary Youth Library, facing east.

With much anticipation in the community, Fort Worth is making headway toward building the first youth library in the city.

As the first library designed specifically to serve children, teens and their caregivers, the Reby Cary Youth Library will be located at 3851 E. Lancaster Ave., with construction funded by the 2014 Bond Election.

In June, Fort Worth Public Library and District 8 Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray oversaw the name selection for the library. The community voted to name the new library after Reby Cary.

Reby Cary (1920-2018) graduated from I.M. Terrell High School and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history and political science from Prairie View A&M. He was the first African-American elected to the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education, and the first African-American professor hired at UT Arlington. He helped establish the McDonald College of Industrial Arts for African-Americans in the Riverside area, and as District 95 state representative, helped pass legislation to establish the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission to fight discrimination. Those are only a few of his many accomplishments.

The design of the new library has been completed by architects KAI Texas with input from the community. Fort Worth Public Art selected artist Joe O'Connell to create public art installation at the library. inside view of library

Construction is projected to take up to 12 months. When the mandatory closures and public gathering ban is over, the groundbreaking ceremony will be rescheduled. No one has any idea how long the quarantine will be in effect.


Complete your 2020 census

For the first time, residents will be able to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail.

Every decade, technology plays a greater role in the way the census is conducted. But in 2020, the first time anyone who wants to respond to the census online has that option, the greatest change may come from the way all of us use technology.

For the first time during a decennial census, the majority of people in the United States are using digital and social media in their everyday lives.

"The rise of digital and social media use has exponentially increased the speed of how accurate and inaccurate information can spread," said Stephen Buckner, assistant director for communications at the U.S. Census Bureau. "We know that many people may not know what the census is because it happens only every 10 years, making it a likely target for misinformation and disinformation campaigns, which is why we've been actively preparing to defend against them."

The 2020 Census will have implications for years to come. It is everyone's responsibility to make sure there is an accurate count.