These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.

Staying Safe While Staying Festive this Winter

With Winter holidays fast approaching, state and local officials have issued guidance for how to have socially distanced fun during the coronavirus pandemic. Officials do not advise participating in traditional holiday activities. Large, indoor gatherings and activities that bring you face-to-face with people should be avoided. Instead, officials recommend hosting virtual movie nights with family and friends, virtual cookie decorating competitions, and looking at neighborhood light displays in cars with household family members. More information about guidelines can be found hosting celebrations here and general holiday guidelines here or here in video format.

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

This week, over 224,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered across 110 providers (hospitals and medical schools) in 34 counties. By the end of the month, over a million vaccines will have been distributed to a variety of providers including hospitals, health centers, clinics and other medical practices, pharmacies, freestanding emergency rooms, urgent cares, long-term care facilities, local health departments, state hospitals, state supported living centers, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities. Additionally, DSHS will begin reserving doses of COVID-19 vaccine the week of December 28th for the federal Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership. Governor Abbott received the COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin on December 22nd at 1:30PM. 

GRACE’s Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott has announced that the Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation (GRACE) initiative will host a statewide interfaith Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking on January 11 through January 17, 2021. The week of prayer coincides with Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the state of Texas and serves as a call to action to the faith-based community to unite in prayer, learn more about human trafficking, and discern opportunities to prevent exploitation and support survivors. GRACE will launch the Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking through a virtual interfaith event on January 11th at 6pm on Facebook.

Daily Prayer Intentions for the Week of Prayer include:

  • Monday, January 11: Pray for an end to human trafficking.
  • Tuesday, January 12: Pray for survivors to find healing.
  • Wednesday, January 13: Pray for all those working on the front line to support survivors.
  • Thursday, January 14: Pray for those working to bring traffickers and exploiters to justice.
  • Friday, January 15: Pray for an end to demand and societal factors that lead to exploitation. 
  • Saturday, January 16: Pray for prevention efforts and those who are vulnerable.
  • Sunday, January 17: Pray for discernment on the actions you can personally take to address human trafficking.

Supplemental K-5 Math Computer Program for Home Learning

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has announced that a supplemental K-5 math computer program will be made available to school systems through TEA’s Texas Home Learning 3.0 (THL 3.0) initiative. These instructional materials are optional and aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)—the state standards for what grade-level knowledge and skills students should possess. ST Math is an engaging platform that allows students to take a penguin named “JiJi” through math challenges to build conceptual understanding in math. Beginning today, all Texans–educators and families–can register for access to a new ST Math account at www.stmath.com/texas. More information on Texas Home Learning 3.0 can be found here.

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