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COVID-19 In DFW Nov. 8-Nov. 14: Texas schools can set their own mask mandates again

A photo of disposable face masks.

Richardson ISD will lift its mask mandate on Dec. 17, and numerous vaccine clinics are giving pediatric and booster shots.

For the latest on the pandemic in North Texas, visit KERA News' COVID-19 Live Updates page.

Saturday, Nov. 13

Providers roll out pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

More than 900 providers across Texas now have Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for kids from the ages of 5 to 11.

Denton County Public Health ordered 8,000 vaccine doses initially. Chief Epidemiologist Juan Rodriguez says about 500 doses have been administered so far.

“Truthfully when vaccines became available last December, it really was an emotional process for us to just be able to, to give this to individuals," Rodriguez said. "It’s just been a great thing to implement and allow this new group to finally get it after 20 months.”

Rodriguez says the public health department has more people signed up for vaccine clinics next week.

The department is balancing the demands for first-time vaccine appointments, booster shots and the new Pfizer vaccine for kids. Close to 3 million children are eligible for the vaccine in Texas.

Friday, Nov. 12

Richardson ISD to lift mask mandate for students on Dec. 17

Citing a drop in active cases and the availability of a COVID vaccine for kids 5 and older, district leaders decided to end the elementary mask requirement.

"We continue to monitor positive cases of COVID in RISD each day, and cases have continued to remain at the lowest levels of the school year after peaking in early Sept.," Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a video address.

Masks will be encouraged and optional at all district facilities when students return after winter break.

The school district is set to host COVID vaccine clinics for students through the month of December.

Residents in these areas of North Texas are in danger of loosing rent relief

Four North Texas governments have until Monday to submit plans to make it easier for tenants and landlords to receive COVID-19 rent relief — or risk losing millions of dollars.

The Dallas Morning News reports the Monday deadline applies to more than a dozen Texas cities and counties that have been slow to dole out aid from the federal emergency rental assistance program.

Dallas and Tarrant Counties, and the cities of Arlington and Garland, are among those most at risk. Without a plan submitted by Monday, they could lose about $4.5 million combined.

Virus hits Western Europe again

Nearly two years into a global health crisis that has killed more than 5 million people, infections are again sweeping across parts of Western Europe.

A World Health Organization official declared last week that the continent was “back at the epicenter of the pandemic.”

Much of that's being driven by outbreaks in Russia and Eastern Europe. But Germany and Britain are seeing high new case numbers. Even in countries with high vaccination rates, large numbers remain unvaccinated.

Thursday, Nov. 11

More Texans filed for unemployment this week, but claims remain near pandemic lows

The U.S. Labor Department reports today first-time jobless claims in Texas rose slightly last week. Just over 15,500 Texans filed for unemployment benefits. That's about 400 more than the week before but close to the state's lowest level since the onset of the pandemic.

Tarrant County continues vaccine clinics — including kids and boosters

Tarrant County is hosting a series of vaccine clinics in the upcoming week.

County health officials and Arlington ISD will host a vaccine clinic at the Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center/Agriculture Science Center on Saturday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The site will have all three vaccinations, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna, including the children’s and booster doses.

Children 5 and older are eligible for the shots. Parents need to bring proof of the child’s age and their own ID for the vaccination.

Here's a full list of the county's pop-up vaccine clinics:

  • Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center
    Saturday, Nov. 13: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    2101 Browning Dr. | Arlington, TX 76010
  • Baker Chapel AME Church
    Saturday, Nov. 13: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    1050 E. Humbolt St. | Fort Worth, TX 76104
  • Watauga Fire Department
    Monday, Nov. 15: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    7901 Indian Springs Road | Watauga, TX 76148
  • La Gran Plaza
    Monday, Nov. 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    4200 South Freeway | Fort Worth, TX 76115
  • Hurst Fire Station
    Tuesday, Nov. 16: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    2100 Precinct Line Rd | Hurst, TX 76054
  • Birdville ISD
    Wednesday, Nov. 17: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    6351 Boulevard 26 | Haltom City, TX 76180
  • N. Richland Hills Fire Station 5
    Wednesday, Nov. 17: 2 to 7 p.m.
    7202 Dick Fisher Drive S. | North Richland Hills, TX 76180
  • McDonalds
    Thursday, Nov. 18: 12 to 4 p.m.
    860 E. I-20 | Arlington, TX 76018
  • Sundance Square Pavilion
    Friday, Nov. 19: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    Near the intersection of 4th and Main Streets | Fort Worth, TX 76102
  • Northwest Public Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.
    3800 Adam Grubb Road | Lake Worth, TX 76135
  • Bagsby-Williams Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.
    3212 Miller Ave. | Fort Worth, TX 76119
  • Southeast Public Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 7 p.m.
    536 W Randol Mill | Arlington TX, 76011
  • Main Public Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 6 p.m.
    1101 S. Main Street | Fort Worth, TX 76104
  • Southwest Public Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.
    6551 Granbury Road | Fort Worth, TX 76133
  • Watauga Public Health Center
    Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 8 p.m.
    6601 Watauga Road | Watauga, TX 76148

Texas schools can again set their own face mask rules after federal judge overrules Gov. Greg Abbott

A federal judge has blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates in public schools.

The ruling Wednesday finds Abbott's order violates federal law because it denies students with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, access to education and services.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Twitter last night his office is weighing options to challenge the decision.

Read more from The Texas Tribune.

Wednesday, Nov. 10

At least 57% of Texas voters support mask requirements in schools and indoor public places, based on local coronavirus conditions. That's according to new survey results out Tuesday from the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune.

The poll's co-director Jim Henson told Texas Standard most of the state also favors vaccine mandates in the workplace.

"More than half support allowing businesses to requiring employees to provide either proof of vaccination or submit to testing," Henson said. "About half approve of allowing government entities to require employees to require the same."

The state's Republican Attorney General is suing to block the White House' vaccination or testing requirements for federal contractors and large companies.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Shoppers are crossing the U.S-Mexico border again

Now that the border has reopened for non-essential travel many Mexican nationals are returning to their normal shopping routines in the U.S.

Rosaura Cadena Hernandez, who is a resident of Reynosa, crossed for the first time in the almost two years since the closure to buy her son a laptop.

“You find better prices, better quality," Hernandez said. "Right now, my son needs a laptop for school because things have changed and in Mexico, it’s a bit more expensive.”

She said the computer costs almost double in her hometown than it does in the U.S. and the quality is worse in Mexico.

Border communities on both sides were economically devastated by the shutdown.

“There are some Mexicans that dedicate themselves to buying stuff here and go back to Mexico to sell over there as a source of income for their families and they were really affected,” Hernandez said.

Local leaders estimate the border restrictions cost the U.S. economy more than $30 billion over the past 20 months.

Unvaccinated Texans were more likely to die or contract COVID-19 this year than those who were fully vaccinated

The newly released data from the Texas Department of State Health Services matches lab reports and death certificates with state immunization records from Jan. to Oct. 1.

It's the state’s first statistical analysis of the real-world impact of vaccination against COVID-19, said state officials.

According to the study, unvaccinated Texans were 40 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, and 45 times more likely to get infected with the virus during that time period.

For Sept., unvaccinated Texans were 20 times more likely to die, and 13 times more likely to test positive than fully inoculated people.

The latest state data indicates more than 70,000 COVID deaths, and more than 3.5 million Texans have tested positive for the virus.

Read the full report by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Monday, Nov. 8

Dallas ISD will offer free COVID-19 vaccines to children 5 and older

The district will set up clinics at eight different schools.

First doses will be given Nov. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Second doses will be given Dec. 11 at the same schools.

Meanwhile, Dallas ISD says its mask protocol will remain in place because it’s concerned about potential disease spread. Masks are required for students, teachers and visitors in every district building. The district will re-assess in mid-December.

Here are the eight Dallas ISD schools holding the clinics:

  • David G. Burnet Elementary School; 3200 Kinkaid Drive, Dallas, TX 75220
  • Cedar Crest Elementary School; 2020 Mouser St., Dallas, TX 75203
  • Gilbert Cuellar Sr. Elementary School; 337 Pleasant Vista Drive, Dallas, TX 75217
  • Jerry R. Junkins Elementary School; 2808 Running Duke Drive, Carrollton, TX 75006
  • Umphrey Lee Elementary School; 7808 Racine Drive, Dallas, TX 75232
  • Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy; 5314 Boaz St., Dallas, TX 75209
  • Charles Rice Learning Center; 2425 Pine St., Dallas, TX 75215
  • Solar Preparatory School for Girls; 2617 N Henderson Ave., Dallas, TX 75206

Federal vaccine rules for big businesses temporarily blocked by appeals court

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is claiming victory after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted the White House's mandate that workers at large companies get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.

Saturday's decision followed a petition filed by Paxton and other Republican-led states last week to block the law from taking effect in January.

Steven Vladeck with the University of Texas School of Law says the court will likely issue a longer explanation this week.

"This is not going to be the last word," Vladeck said. "There are lawsuits challenging this rule all over the country. It's possible this case won't even stay in the 5th Circuit. There's an effort to consolidate them all before one court of appeals."

Vladeck was speaking today on Texas Standard.

Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19's Spread In North Texas

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