These eight stories were the most-read Cy-Fair news reports on our website in June.
1. Cy-Fair ISD board approves extended school days in 2020-21 (Published June 15)
Cy-Fair ISD board members unanimously approved modifications to the 2020-21 instructional calendar that will add 10-15 minutes of instructional time each day to the schedule. All other previously scheduled professional development and school breaks will remain as approved in January.
2. Cy-Fair ISD approves billion-dollar budget, teachers raises for 2020-21 (Published June 16)
Cy-Fair ISD board members approved a $1.04 billion budget for fiscal year 2020-21, which includes a $39.8 million shortfall to provide district employees with raises in the coming year.
3. Face coverings: How they work and common misconceptions (Published June 24)
As the rate of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to rise in various cities across the U.S., local leaders are passing executive orders to mandate the wearing of masks or face coverings in some capacity.
Elected officials in some of Texas' largest urban areas, including Houston, Austin and Dallas, have recently passed orders mandating businesses to require masks for both employees and customers.
4. Businesses and restaurants must begin requiring face coverings June 22 (Published June 19)
All commercial businesses that service the public in Harris County must begin requiring employees and patrons to wear face coverings under a new executive order signed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on June 19.
5. Camp Bow Wow to open June 12 on Telge Road in Cypress (Published June 8)
Local entrepreneur José Morillo will open Camp Bow Wow on June 12 at 16641 Telge Road, Cypress. The 8,700-square-foot site features 75 cabins for dogs, eight teacup suites, and five indoor and outdoor play spaces.
6. As COVID-19 hospitalizations rise, Harris County unveils new system to gauge public threat (Published June 11)
City and county leaders spoke at the conference about the county's newest effort to gauge the spread of the virus: a threat-level system meant to provide clear guidelines to the public on how they should adjust their behavior based on recent trends.
7. COMING SOON: In-N-Out Burger construction progresses at Willowbrook location (Published May 27)
Construction on a new location of In-N-Out Burger is underway at 7611 FM 1960, Houston. Carl Arena, vice president of real estate and development for the company, said in an email that while the store is in “the later stages of construction,” officials are not yet announcing an opening date.
8. Q&A: Criminal justice research expert weighs in on George Floyd protests and the sentiments (Published June 3)
As the founding director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University, Dr. Howard Henderson said he spends a lot of time analyzing and writing about the ways racial bias plays into criminal justice, both in the Houston area and across the country.
Since the center was founded in 2018, researchers have explored the ways race plays into pretrial justice, the effects of over-incarceration on poor and minority families and the misconceptions surrounding how race, personality and crime are connected.
In addition to local coronavirus updates, state agencies also made several newsworthy announcements in the last month regarding unemployment benefits, school district mandates for 2020-21 and an increase in hospitalizations statewide.
These eight stories were the most-read statewide news reports on our website in June.
1. Texans on unemployment benefits will soon be required to apply for new work, state says (Published June 16)
Texans receiving unemployment benefits will soon have to prove they are actively looking for work in order to continue receiving assistance. Unemployment recipients will have to start documenting their efforts to find a new job July 6, with the first reports due July 19.
2. Texas Education Agency outlines options for school districts to adjust 2020-21 calendar in response to COVID-19 (Published June 16)
The Texas Education Agency has acknowledged the 2020-21 school year is likely to be disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic that halted in-person learning in many districts in mid-March.
According to the agency's website, the TEA anticipates short-term disruptions to instruction and an increase in student absenteeism, with some students consistently absent due to COVID-19.
3. See how many gloves, masks, gallons of sanitizer each Texas school district will receive for fall 2020 (Published June 15)
To date, the agency has ordered 50 million disposable face masks, 10 million gloves, 40,000 infrared and noncontact thermometers and 500,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for distribution across Texas public school districts. Additional purchases the TEA is considering include reusable masks, face shields and desk dividers, according to the release.
4. Texas officials respond to demonstrations, unrest in wake of George Floyd killing (Published June 1)
Cities across the country experienced days of unrest, including peaceful protests and violence, as thousands of Americans took to the streets in the week following George Floyd’s May 25 killing while in Minneapolis police custody.
Gov. Greg Abbott publicly issued a statement on Floyd’s death May 30 alongside an announcement that he had distributed state resources to Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in an effort to maintain public safety.
5. As COVID-19 cases rise, Gov. Abbott says ‘closing Texas down again will always be the last option’ (Published June 22)
As Texans see an uptick in confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations related to the virus, Gov. Greg Abbott announced no new restrictions for businesses and gatherings in the state during a June 22 press conference.
During the last half of May, there were about 1,500 positive cases confirmed daily and about 1,600 hospitalizations daily. Within the last five days, Abbott said the state has seen more than 3,500 new cases and 3,200 hospitalizations daily.
6. TEA: Districts must offer some in-person classes for 2020-21 school year (Published June 23)
After Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers June 18 that students would be returning to Texas public schools in the fall, guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency June 23 fell in line with the governor's comments, mandating school districts offer some form of on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year.
7. Emergency SNAP food benefits extended in Texas during COVID-19 pandemic (Published June 5)
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will issue roughly $177 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, food benefits for the month of June, as announced in a June 4 state news release. The HHSC's extension, approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serves as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
8. MAP: Texans may face entry restrictions and mandatory quarantines while traveling in U.S., abroad (Published June 26)
Beginning June 24, Texans traveling to three states—New York, New Jersey and Connecticut—face a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a home or hotel room. These announcements come as Texas is experiencing record numbers of coronavirus cases and ICU admissions.