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Home | Tag Archives: Fort BLiss SRPC

Tag Archives: Fort BLiss SRPC

El Paso-area Updates: City’s Coronavirus cases rise to 35; Marathon Petroleum donates 9.6k masks to UMC, El Paso Children’s Hospital; Clint ISD gives students Hotspots

Area government offices, school districts, and other organizations continue to rapidly release information on their Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparations and guidelines.

This story will be updated as new information arrives.

City Resources & FAQ  |   Direct link to ALL city closures  |  Department of Health Information site

***El Paso identifies five additional COVID-19 cases Saturday afternoon (3/28/2020)

The number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County now stands at 35. This afternoon the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported five (5) new confirmed cases.

“As expected the number of COVID cases continues to increase. We are still conducting epidemiological investigations and can’t confirm local spread at this time; however, as I’ve stated before local spread is something we can expect to see very soon,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority. “We need the community to understand the urgent need for each of us to do our part and change our behavior in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We should all be rigorously practicing social distancing, stay at home as ordered and continue to take precautions by washing your hands regularly.”

Officials are also highlighting the importance of social distancing and those who leave home should do so by themselves and avoid taking seniors and

Positive cases in El Paso County include 22 females and 13 males:

Age Range Number of Cases
Teens 2
20s 6
30s 10
40s 5
50s 5
60s 5
70s 1
  80s * 1
* Please note there is a correction in the age ranges.

Covering your cough, avoid touching your face, practicing regular handwashing, and cleaning common areas with disinfectant continue to be stressed.

Local public health officials also want the public to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms don’t improve they should contact their healthcare provider or seek medical attention if necessary.

The 21-COVID hotline will be operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral, services contact 2-1-1 Texas Call Center that is available 24/7 and select option six for more information.

Stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

***

*** Marathon Petroleum donates 9,600 masks to University Medical Center, El Paso Children’s Hospital  (3/28/2020)

Thanks to a donation from Marathon PetroleumUniversity Medical Center of El Paso (UMC) and El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH) now have 9,600 N95 respirator masks.

“This was something our company wanted to do,” said VJ Smith, Government & Public Affairs Manager at Marathon Petroleum in El Paso. “Safety is a top priority for us in the communities where we are privileged to operate. We listened to what our healthcare workers on the front lines said they will need in the coming weeks, and the pandemic plan our company has in place allowed us to be able to make this donation swiftly. We hope this donation will make everyone’s job safer as we all stand together in facing this unprecedented event.”

The donation was made possible through the COVID-19 Compassionate Care Fund, a new program set up by UMC Foundation to support healthcare during this crisis.

To read the complete article and to donate, click here.

***

***Hotspots Now Available for Clint ISD Students  (3/27/2020)

In order to ensure that 100% of our students have internet connectivity, Clint ISD has purchased WIFI hotspots that are now available to issue to our families.

The District WIFI hotspots provide filtered internet access to student Chromebooks and devices. The hotspots comply with the Children’s Internet Protections Act.

The District hotspots will be assigned to Clint ISD families in need of internet access at home. A hotspot request form can be found at www.clintweb.net. Contact Clint ISD Technology Information Services at hotspot@clint.net if you have questions.

Clint ISD has invested $900,000 to purchase the hotspots so students can continue their education from home through the Clint ISD Remote Learning Plan.

Please visit www.clintweb.net or follow us on social media for updates.

***

***City’s Coronavirus total now at 30, 268 residents have been tested (3/27/2020)

During a Friday afternoon news conference, Mayor Dee Margo updated the area, saying there were now 30 cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Mayor Margo added that 268 El Pasoans have been tested for COVID19 via the Drive thru testing sites.

DPH officials say with more testing available the increase in cases does not come as a surprise.

“While we can’t confirm local spread at this time, local spread is something we can expect to see very soon,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority. “People need to change their behavior in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We should all be practicing social distancing and continue to take precautions by washing your hands regularly.”

Positive Cases in El Paso County, 19 female, 11 male:

Age Range

Number of Cases

Teens

2

20s

6

30s

7

40s

4

50s

4

60s

5

70s

2

Officials are also highlighting the importance of social distancing and those who leave home should do so by themselves and avoid taking seniors and children with them. As they make their way in the community they should also maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

Covering your cough, avoid touching your face, practicing regular handwashing, and cleaning common areas with disinfectant continue to be stressed.

Local public health officials also want the public to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms don’t improve they should call their doctor.

The 21-COVID hotline will be operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral services contact 2-1-1 Texas Call Center that is available 24/7 and select option six for more information.

Stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates

***

***City Landfill Service Changes due to COVID-19  (3/27/2020)

Beginning Saturday, March 28, 2020, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) will only accept credit card payments for disposal of waste at the Greater El Paso Landfill.

To reduce contact with cash payments and minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, the landfill, at 2600 Darrington, will only be accepting credit and debit card payments until further notice.

City staff have been provided with protective gear, including gloves, will wipe down credit and debit cards with disinfectant to provide additional protection to customers and themselves.

All landfill visitors who do not have credit or debit cards will not be allowed on site.

For more information, please call 915.212.6000.

***

***YISD schools remain closed, online learning begins April 6 (3/27/2020)

Given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19’s impact on our community, Ysleta Independent School District students and staff will not return to school on Monday, April 6, as previously planned. Instead, Ysleta ISD will launch THEDISTRICT@Home online learning program for students on April 6 with support from teachers and principals, officials said Friday.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre said he will continue to monitor recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the El Paso County Health Department before determining a date for students to return to Ysleta ISD campuses.

“Rest assured that Ysleta ISD continues to work tirelessly to assist families in adjusting to these new circumstances, and to transition students from instruction in traditional classrooms to online learning at home in the most seamless and efficient way possible,” Dr. De La Torre said.

To accomplish this effort, Ysleta ISD teachers and instructional specialists have been planning lessons and preparing for students to begin virtual instruction on Monday, April 6.

Teachers are currently making contact with students to familiarize them with the technology to ensure online lessons begin on April 6. Families without Internet access at home will be notified prior to April 6 with details on how to retrieve paper packets with instructional lessons from their child’s campus.

“Although the future is uncertain, we remain hopeful and optimistic,” Dr. De La Torre said. “We look forward to welcoming back our students and staff.”

THEDISTRICT@Home can be accessed at www.yisd.net, which has been transformed into a “one-stop shop” for families. It features extensive information and links on COVID-19, online learning, the newly launched Health Hotline staffed by school nurses, and “Grab & Go” school meals.

Families have responded overwhelmingly to Ysleta ISD’s “Grab & Go” drive-through meal service, which allows them to drive up to select schools from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays and receive curbside delivery of breakfast and lunch meals for children under 18.

In its first full week, about 110,000 meals were distributed at participating Ysleta ISD sites combined.

Currently, children must be inside the vehicle for drivers to receive meals. However, the state is working to lift this restriction; any updates will be communicated to Ysleta ISD families.

Effective Monday, March 30, the district will add an additional four “Grab & Go” sites, reflected in the list below:

Capistrano Elementary School
Constance Hulbert Elementary School
Desertaire Elementary School
Hacienda Elementary School
Ramona Elementary School
R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
Tierra Del Sol Elementary School
Bel Air Middle School
Eastwood Middle School
Del Valle Middle School
Parkland Middle School
Bel Air High School
Del Valle High School
Eastwood High School
Hanks High School
Parkland High School
Riverside High School
Ysleta High School

***

***Clint ISD Closed Indefinitely Due to Coronavirus Pandemic (3/27/2020)

As we continue to stay abreast of all incoming information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the health and well-being of our students and staff will always be a top priority for Clint ISD.

As our local, state and federal government response to the Coronavirus pandemic evolves, decisions made by Clint ISD will also continue to be revised to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Clint ISD will remain closed indefinitely in accordance with City of El Paso Department of Public Health guidance.

During the closure, teachers and essential staff will report to work and/or work from home in order to support continued instruction and district operations.

The Clint ISD Remote Learning Plan will continue to provide at home instruction for our students. Teachers and District personnel will be available to support parents and students. Contact information can be found online.

Meals will continue to be available for pick-up for all children ages 1-18 at all schools and various bus drop-off locations Monday through Friday.

Students and staff are asked to remain at home and follow health department guidelines regarding the spread of Coronavirus.

Please visit Clint ISD’s website or follow them on social media for updates.

***

*** CANUTILLO ISD TO REMAIN CLOSED INDEFINITELY  (3/27/2020)

Canutillo ISD will now remain closed indefinitely. However, online learning begins Monday, March 30. Visit our website to download the Remote Learning Toolkit.

***

***UTEP President Wilson release update on emergency assistance, Maymester, Summer and Fall  (3/27/2020)

Thanks to everyone for everything you are doing to keep people healthy and manage the shift to online learning for the remainder of the semester. I appreciate the professionalism and the positive attitudes of everyone in this unprecedented situation.

Making A Difference

Over 1,000 of our low-income students have received emergency assistance through UTEP to get computers or wifi hotspots so that they can finish the semester by distance. Kudos to Student Affairs and Financial Aid for figuring out how to get that done.

Institutional Advancement has raised over $7,300 from generous alumni and donors to help students in need.

Information Resources has tripled the capacity of our Virtual Private Network over the past week and has been working with the technology people in colleges to redirect traffic and keep people operating.

And faculty have been helping each other, rapidly learning new skills and shifting content online in preparation for next week. Thanks to all of you – particularly those who have never done online instruction before and are embracing the challenge.

There will be glitches and frustrations next week, to be sure. Let’s do everything we can to help each other and help our students.

Maymester and Summer

Over the past week, the faculty and leadership team have been evaluating how to adapt for Maymester and summer. Dr. Wiebe will be following up with more information for faculty, and Dr. Edens and his team will be getting information to students.

We’ve decided to move Maymester entirely online. For courses that just can’t transition to online, faculty will try, if possible, to move them later in the summer, either in traditional summer semesters or in a late July two-week session that would likely be more amenable to in-person delivery.

For summer semester, we are going to start enrolling students in online courses only. If the situation changes, we will open face-to-face sections. We will be encouraging faculty who are experienced in online instruction to offer courses this summer and opening more of our online courses to enrollment through Finish@UT.

Again, more information to follow from the Provost and Deans.

Fall

For now, we will continue to plan a normal fall schedule and continue to monitor the situation.

Health

While so many of you are working remotely from home, I wanted to encourage all of you to follow all of the best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We have had three staff members and one student test positive for COVID-19 after traveling. When that happens, we immediately work with them to identify any contacts they may have had at UTEP and where, if at all, they were on campus. Then we let all of you (and the public) know, while protecting their privacy. We think that is the best thing to do for all of us.

UTEP does have a number of students and faculty who returned from abroad who are in self-quarantine.  We check in with them every day and see how they are doing.

This brings up an issue on which we need your help. Normally, you would call in and let your supervisor know that you are staying home because you are sick. Now, I’m asking you to call your supervisor and let them know if you are feeling ill so that the UTEP Office of Environmental Health and Safety can connect with you every day and monitor your symptoms. Otherwise, we won’t know about it and we can’t help you or help protect and monitor others.

Again, thanks for everything you are doing to keep educating our students during a very unusual time.

Regards,

Heather Wilson

President

P.S. Glad the earthquake yesterday was mild. You can’t make this up . . . :@)

***

***NMSU Aggie Cupboard works to meet demand during COVID-19 pandemic (3/27/2020)

In the days and weeks since COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, empty grocery store shelves have become an all-too-common sight.

But New Mexico State University’s on-campus food pantry, Aggie Cupboard, is working to ensure students, staff and faculty facing food insecurity have access to pantry staples during this time of crisis.

Aggie Cupboard, founded in 2012 on a mission to provide free supplementary food assistance to community members attending or working at NMSU and Doña Ana Community College, has experienced a two-fold increase in clientele since concerns over COVID-19 started escalating earlier this month, said Aggie Cupboard Director Meg Long.

During the week of March 15, Aggie Cupboard volunteers distributed approximately 2,483 pounds of nonperishable food items to 191 clients, said Long, who noted that she sees an average of 70 to 80 clients per week during a typical spring semester.

++To read the complete article, click here.

~~To keep up to date with all news from Las Cruces & Southern New Mexico visit our partners at Las Cruces Today

***

*** Texas Attorney General Pax­ton: Local Gov­ern­ments Must Allow the Sale of Firearms (3/27/2020)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued a legal opinion following a request from Representative Dustin Burrows regarding the sales of firearms in Texas municipalities and counties.

The opinion concludes that municipal and county authorities may not use emergency powers to regulate or restrict the sale of firearms.

“State law provides several emergency powers to local governments to control movement within their region during a disaster, which serves our communities well during public health events like the one we’re fighting now. However, local regulation of the sale, possession, and ownership of firearms is specifically prohibited under Texas law,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Under our laws, every Texan retains their right to purchase and possess firearms.” 

Under the Texas Local Government code, municipal governments possess the limited authority to regulate the use of firearms during a disaster; however, that authority does not extend to the regulation of transfer, possession, ownership or sale of firearms.

Read a copy of the opinion.

***

***NM Governor: K-12 school closings must continue to prevent potential spread of COVID-19   (3/27/2020)

New Mexico public education will shift to a learn-at-home model as schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state education and child care officials announced Friday.​

The decision is part of a two-pronged plan to protect New Mexicans from COVID-19 and ensure that children are protected, fed and educated and that families are supported through this crisis.

The governor previously ordered all public schools closed for three weeks, March 16-April 3, but warned at the time that an extension could be needed. It came Friday with a new executive order that extends the closing through the end of the school year. See answers to Frequently Asked Questions here.

New Mexico had 136 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, including some that are being investigated as community spread, the state Health Department said. School closings are designed to minimize community spread.

“We’re working very hard to contain the virus, and we have to continue to take aggressive steps to mitigate spread and protect New Mexicans of every age all across the state. It is more important than ever that we make sure all New Mexicans are heeding the imperative to stay home,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Keeping schools closed is one of the most important tools we have to support the social distancing that can help us reduce and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

“Schools will not be required to make up the missed instructional days between March 16 and April 3, but for the remaining weeks of the school year to be waived, districts must develop both technology-based and non-technology-based continuous learning plans,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said.

“We know that this decision will have tremendous implications for our families, but we must act to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Stewart said. “We also know that we have extraordinary teachers, support staff and school administrators in New Mexico. If the temporary closure period has shown us anything, it’s that our creative educators and school support staff are committed to meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of our students in challenging circumstances.”

High school credits will be awarded based on flexible approaches, including completion of work, demonstration of competency for course completion and expanded equivalency like work experience. The Public Education Department also recommends schools move to pass/no credit rather than grades during this period.

“While it can be difficult to view the current situation with anything beyond anxiety and apprehension, we believe the wide-reaching consequences of this moment present a tremendous opportunity to transform education to serve all students, especially students who have traditionally been furthest from opportunity,” said Deputy Secretary Kara Bobroff.

“The decisions we make today are made with all of our students in mind. During this unprecedented time, we will continue to build into the public education system healing opportunities for students, families, communities and all New Mexicans,” she said.

Public colleges and universities are not included in the closure order, but most have either extended their spring breaks, moved classes online or both.

School-based health centers, educational programming for youth in facilities, and licensed child care facilities (centers and homes) serving workers whose jobs have been deemed essential will continue operating.

The closing plan includes these provisions:

SPECIAL NEEDS
Students with special needs will receive all feasible supports and accommodations that can be delivered while maintaining safe social-distancing. School districts must continue to support the transition of children from early intervention into preschool special education. Schools offering behavioral health services will remain open for that purpose.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
Individual districts will design measures by which seniors can demonstrate eligibility for graduation. Those measures could include testing, completing a series of assignments, achieving a set score on a college entrance exam or demonstrating applied work experience. Schools will be required to identify and support students in danger of not being able to graduate.

High school seniors will have until June 19 to demonstrate eligibility, and those who fail to do so will be offered credit recovery in the summer; they can also appeal to their local school board or to the secretary. No student will be denied graduation for lack of access to demonstrate competency.

Actual graduation ceremonies will be postponed or held virtually, depending on the prevailing public health order at the time.

Many high school seniors will have completed a college entrance exam already; additionally, many higher education institutions are expected to waive that requirement, and both the ACT and College Board are considering offering those exams in the summer.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT
Advanced placement exams will be offered online and will be limited to material students should have covered up to March. Accommodations will be made for those students who need access to technology to take the tests.

SCHOOL PERSONNEL
School personnel and contractors will remain on call and continue being paid as usual. Districts have already received guidance on activities employees can continue performing during the closure. Bus contractors are encouraged to continue operating bus routes to deliver food and hard-copy lessons. Special education and other service contractors are encouraged to provide virtual services, collaborate with general education teachers and maintain documentation.

SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS
Every New Mexico school district has a plan to continue providing childhood nutrition during this period. You can see those plans here.

The Public Education Department is also seeking permission to distribute Electronic Benefits Transfer cards that would allow qualifying families to purchase meals with their free breakfast/lunch allotment.

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
With schools closed, some children may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect in their homes. In addition, teachers, school administrators and other school staff are often the first to notice changes in behavior and appearance that may indicate abuse or neglect. New Mexicans must fill this void and be extra aware of the safety and well-being of children they know and those in their neighborhoods. Any citizen can report suspected child abuse or neglect by dialing #SAFE from their cell phone or by calling 1-855-333-SAFE from a land-line.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES
The Behavioral Health Division of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department is working with the New Mexico Human Services Department and managed care organizations to help providers and families create digital access to mental health services for children and youth.

COLLABORATING WITH NATIONS, TRIBES AND PUEBLOS
Tribes, pueblos and nations are located in some of the most rural parts of New Mexico and often experience extreme health care provider shortages. The governor and state agencies are collaborating with tribal leaders to support their needs in these times.

These state agencies will continue working with the tribes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Education to support students who attend BIE and tribally run schools: Indian Affairs Department, Public Education Department, Children, Youth and Families Department and Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

~~To keep up to date with all news from Las Cruces & Southern New Mexico visit our partners at Las Cruces Today

***

***Canutillo ISD to close until further notice  (3/27/2020)

The Canutillo Independent School District has extended its campus closures until further notice, in accordance to the City of El Paso’s announcement that a Shelter in Place rule has been enacted.

Students and staff are asked to remain at home and follow health department guidelines regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Canutillo ISD staff tied to critical operational resources and distance learning are considered essential personnel and allowed under the Shelter in Place provision.

Distribution of electronic devices to families has begun. The district is distributing one electronic device per family who does not have either a home computer, laptop or tablet at home.  Parents will be contacted by their campus for distribution details.

The district’s online learning program will begin March 30. Visit our website to learn more about Online Learning and download The Remote Learning Toolkit via this link.

Meal distribution for children will continue during the closure. To view the current schedule, click here.

All other district events are postponed. Graduations will be postponed if health guidelines do not allow us to have them in May.

***

***Curbside iPad distribution underway in EPISD (3/27/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District will begin distributing iPads to families who do not have a computer or device in anticipation of the launch of EPISD@HOME, the District’s distance-learning program during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) related campus closures.

One iPad will be given to any family with students in grades kinder through fifth who do not have either a home computer, laptop or tablet at home. Students must be present at the time of distribution and parents must present the child’s student identification number.

Distribution will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 26; Friday, March 27; and Monday March 30 at every elementary school in the District.

EPISD staff at school locations will maintain social distancing and asks the public to comply with those guidelines as well. The distribution of devices is allowed under the recently enacted City of El Paso Stay Home, Work Safe rule.

Please note that the distribution is for elementary-school students only. Middle- and high-school students have a District-issued MacBook Air.

Given the limited amounts of devices in stock, families will be limited to one iPad. Families who have personal laptops, desktops or tablets are asked not to pick up a District iPad in order to help EPISD meet the demand for those in need.

Each campus will have a limited supply of devices. More distribution dates will be announced when new devices arrive in the District.

***

***El Paso Identifies 4 Additional COVID-19 Cases, total now at 25 (3/26/2020)

The number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County now stands at 26. This afternoon the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported four (4) new confirmed cases.

DPH officials say with more testing available the increase in cases does not come as a surprise.

“Drive-thru testing for specific groups will increase our numbers and allow us to have a better understanding of COVID-19 in our community,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority. “It’s important to keep in mind that those who test positive will be ordered to stay home and away from others. We should all be practicing social distancing even if we have not been tested.”

Officials are also highlighting the importance of social distancing and those who leave home should do so by themselves and avoid taking seniors and children with them. As they make their way in the community they should also maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

Positive Cases in El Paso County, 17 female, 8 male:

Age Range

Number of Cases

Teens

2

20s

4

30s

7

40s

4

50s

3

60s

4

70s

1

Covering your cough, avoid touching your face, practicing regular handwashing, and cleaning common areas with disinfectant continue to be stressed. Local public health officials also want the public to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms don’t improve they should call their doctor.

The 21-COVID hotline will be operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral services contact 2-1-1 Texas Call Center that is available 24/7 and select option six for more information.

Stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

***

***Third UTEP Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19  (3/26/2020)

On Thursday, March 26, a third male employee of The University of Texas at El Paso tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee traveled to the same out-of-town event as the first two employees who tested positive and returned to El Paso on Thursday, March 12.  He is in self-isolation and recovering at home.

The employee had limited access to the Foster Stevens Center on March 13. The facility has been isolated and cleaned regularly with disinfectant. It was also closed and disinfected again March 24.

Campus officials and support services are in contact by phone with the employee on a daily basis.

The following are recommendations to stay safe:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

For the latest updates on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.

***

***City urges public to avoid playground, workout equipment at city parks (3/26/2020)

To stop the spread of COVID-19 and for the safety of the public, the Parks and Recreation Department urges residents not to use playground equipment or workout stations if they visit City parks during the Stay Home, Work Safe order.

During the announcement of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo advised that people can go to public parks and open recreation areas but are discouraged from using playground or outdoor exercise equipment.

In addition, the El Paso Public Health Department urges parents to keep children away from playground equipment because the virus can live on surfaces for hours, even days.

All Parks and Recreation facilities remain closed until further notice as a precautionary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parks and trails remain open to the public with some recommendations that include:

  • Maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance from others
  • Choose less populated parks and trails
  • Do not park in a crowded parking lot or use a crowded trail
  • Wash hands before and after each visit

“Fresh air and exercise are an important part of maintaining wellness during this unprecedented period in which we work to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 in our community,” said El Paso Parks and Recreation Department Interim Director Ben Fyffe. “Families are urged to use caution, avoid playgrounds and exercise equipment while still enjoying access to El Paso’s parks.”

Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information by subscribing to both the City of El Paso and DPH social media platforms and visit www.epstrong.org. Information is also available by calling the COVID-19 hotline (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID.

***

***Tax Office Closes for In-Person Services (3/26/2020)

The El Paso Consolidated Tax Office will be closed to the public for in-person services effective immediately, Thursday, March 26, until further notice, in response to the ongoing public safety concerns related to COVID-19.

While the Tax Office remains closed, taxpayers can still conduct business with the office by mail, phone or online. Taxpayers are encouraged to pay their property taxes through the following methods:

For additional information, please contact the Tax Office at (915) 212-0106, citytaxoffice@elpasotexas.gov or by visiting their website.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.epstrong.org

***

*** Drive-Thru COVID-19 Specimen Collection Moves into Phase II, Seniors with Symptoms Targeted (3/26/2020)

Thursday morning, the Department of Public Health announced that the drive-thru COVID-19 specimen collection site will collect specimens of seniors 65 years of age or older who have a temperature of 99.6 F or higher.

“We are moving into the second phase of our testing and are now focusing our efforts on members of our community who may belong to high risk groups and could be more seriously affected by the disease,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority.

No doctor laboratory order is needed for seniors to have their specimens collected but they must meet the criteria of having a temperature of 99.6 F or higher.

The testing is free and requires no insurance coverage.

Seniors can make an appointment by calling (915) 494-0982 during operational hours of Monday thru Friday from 7am – 3pm.

Location of the collection specimen drive-thru site will be provided when the appointment is made.

Participants should not take any fever reducing medications prior to their appointment.

***

***Victims of domestic/dating violence, sexual assaults, stalking, and human trafficking can apply for a Protective Order online (3/26/2020)

The El Paso County Attorney’s Office remains fully operational, with most of its employees teleworking to offer a full range of services to the public.

Due to the City/County “Stay Home, Work Safe Order,” the Protective Order Unit has modified its procedures and it is now accepting Applications for Protective Orders electronically.

Members of the public who experience family violence, dating violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or human trafficking don’t have to come to our offices in person, and can now file for a Protective Order electronically by going to their webpage. Once there, users will find instructions and all the necessary forms to begin the application process in both English and Spanish.

The new process includes:

⦁ The applicant completes a Conflict Check Form and the Application for Protective Order found on our webpage;
⦁ Applicants will then e-mail the completed forms and a copy of their picture ID to the County Attorney’s Office Protective Order Unit;
⦁ Upon receipt of the application, the Protective Order Unit will conduct a conflict check. If there is no legal conflict, a member of the Protective Order Unit will contact the Applicant to conduct a telephone interview.
⦁ Applicants can sign electronically any necessary documents using free apps like Adobe Fill & sign.

Anyone that has questions about the new application process can e-mail the County Attorney’s Office Protective Order Unit at ProtectiveOrderApplications@gmail.com.

If an Applicant does not have access to the internet, they can call our office at 915-546-2153 and we can assist them over the phone.

***

***HACEP offices are closed but they are still functioning at 100 percent capacity (3/26/2020)

Although the majority of the employees are currently working from home, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso is fully operating. The Housing Choice Vouchers annual certifications, issuance of vouchers, registration of new applications on the waiting list and payments to property owners continue.

The Housing Choice Voucher waitlist is currently open and will continue until July 3rd of 2020. All applications are to be made through the website www.hacep.org.

Property management companies are currently completing annual certifications and interim certifications due to the income changes or family compositions by appointment. All emergency work orders are being attended within 24 hours.

The CEO of The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Gerald Cichon, expresses the importance of keeping their residents safe through these hard times. “Our goal is to keep assisting the people of El Paso to the best of our capabilities while providing a safe environment for our residents as well as for our employees.”

For any inquiries, please contact us via telephone at (915) 849-3742 or via email at PIO@HACEP.org.

HACEP is currently experiencing an increased volume of calls and emails due to the offices being closed, but staff will be answering all calls and will provide assistance on how to register on the waiting list.

***

***Gov. Abbott signs order, travelers from New York area or New Orleans must self quarantine for 2 weeks (3/26/2020)

On Thursday afternoon Governor Greg Abbott announced a new executive order requiring those who travel back from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans.

Travelers will be required to stay within their mandated quarantine location for 14 days or the duration of their stay in Texas – whichever is shorter.  Additionally, no one from the general population would be allowed to enter the quarantine area, unless they are a licensed medical professional.

Abbott said the regions had become ‘hot spots’ for the virus and that the steps were necessary to “get out in front of COVID-19.”

The order only applies to airway travel, travelers driving into the state are not subject to the mandatory quarantine.  Officials added that violating the quarantine order would be punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail.

Also during the news conference Abbott shared that over the previous seven days, nearly 16,000 Texas residents had been tested, with almost 1,500 of those testing positive.   He added that of those who tested positive, just over 100 people had been hospitalized, the rest were quarantined in their homes.

As of the time of his news conference, there have been 18 deaths related to the Coronavirus.

To view Governor Abbott’s news conference, click here (courtesy NBC News)

***

***DPS Limits Public Access to Buildings Due to COVID-19, Business Operations Still Remain Open (3/26/2020)

In response to COVID-19, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is limiting public access to department facilities to protect the public and our employees, promote social distancing and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Despite limited physical access to our buildings, DPS remains open for business and continues to provide essential services to Texans as our employees conduct operations remotely; therefore, the public should experience minimal impact from this temporary change.

The department encourages the public to contact us by phone or email, and utilize our online services when available.

UPDATES TO SERVICES PROVIDED IN LIGHT OF COVID-19 CLOSURES:

Driver License Services: Last week, DPS was directed to extend the expiration date of Texas identification cards (ID), driver licenses (DL), commercial DLs (CDL) and election identification certificates (EIC), as well as close DL offices.

The temporary closure does not impact those seeking an initial CDL. Contact the DL team for CDL appointment information.

With regard to the extension, this means that if your Texas DL/CDL/ID/EIC card expires on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period that encompasses the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues public notice that the extension period for this disaster declaration has been lifted. Many Texans are eligible to conduct their DL transactions online. We encourage you to check your eligibility today.

For more information about DL services and possible impacts related to COVID-19, click here.

  • Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST): While many FAST locations remain open and continue to take appointments, some FAST locations are housed in facilities that have been closed by local authorities. Other than some site closures, the only other change to FAST location services in response to COVID-19 pertains to the location at 108 Denson Drive in Austin; this location previously accepted walk-ins and has transitioned to appointments only to help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 and meet social distancing requirements.
  • Regulatory ServicesIf an individual is applying for or renewing a License to Carry (LTC) permit or a Private Security License, DPS continues to operate our regulatory services as normal. However, it is important to note that some of the required components for these types of licenses come from the private sector (for example: FAST fingerprinting services, LTC training courses), which are outside of our control. If you have questions regarding these services, contact our Regulatory Services team.

Resources for how to contact the department and the latest information surrounding our COVID-19 response can be found on our website at www.dps.texas.gov.

***

***Canutillo ISD distributes electronic devices to students (3/26/2020)

The Canutillo Independent School District will be distributing electronic devices to families Thursday March 26 and Friday March 27. Parents will be contacted by their campus for distribution details.
The district’s online learning program will begin March 30.
As the district deals with the effects of this pandemic and school closures, it is distributing one electronic device per family who does not have either a home computer, laptop or tablet at home.
“Our online learning curriculum maintains rigor and stimulating lessons to engage students in a home setting,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Canutillo ISD Superintendent of Schools. “We have observed that teachers and parents are now working even closer together to advance learning opportunities for our students. We do not view this approach as a mere stopgap measure, but as an effective vehicle for innovative teaching and learning.”
CISD staff will be at the campuses to help maintain social distancing and asks the public to comply with those guidelines as well. The distribution of devices is allowed under the recently enacted City of El Paso Stay Home, Work Safe rule.

***

***Rapier Family Donates $1 Million To Feed Nearly 6K older adults in Texas, Florida (3/26/2020)

Philanthropists Kym and Dr. George Rapier have donated $1 million to the WellMed Charitable Foundation, which will award grants to local Meals on Wheels programs in Texas, Florida and New Mexico that will feed nearly 6,000 older adults.

A total of 5,849 older adults, many of them homebound seniors, are on a wait list in 14 communities in Texas and Florida for the Meals on Wheels program. The urgent need to serve this population is growing as older adults are asked to stay home as much as possible in light of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus.

The $1 million from the Rapiers and their non-profit organization Kym’s Angels Fund will allow Meals on Wheels to deliver more than 175,000 healthy, hot meals to this often under-served population for up to six weeks.

Grants to local Meals on Wheels program are being distributed through the non-profit WellMed Charitable Foundation.

Dr. Rapier is founder, chairman and CEO of WellMed Medical Management, Inc., a growing health care company that provides medical care and ancillary health care services to more than 640,000 adults in Texas and Florida. His wife Kym Rapier is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who serves as chief executor of the Rapier Family Foundation and its related funding charities.

The non-profit WellMed Charitable Foundation, which Dr. Rapier co-founded, is the philanthropic partner of WellMed. The Foundation supports caregivers and older adults in the communities that WellMed serves in Texas and Florida.

“I founded WellMed nearly 30 years ago to find a better way to deliver care to older adults,” Dr. Rapier said. “But we quickly realized that truly improving health care goes well beyond the services we provide in the exam room. It involves overcoming barriers that can keep this population from getting well and staying well, such as lack of transportation, education and nutrition.”

“But these grants will run out all too soon. Kym and I want to challenge other corporations, businesses and foundations to step up and support their local Meals on Wheels programs, food banks and other worthy charities that provide much-needed services to the communities where we live, work and play. We all must do our part to keep food on the table and eliminate hunger.”

Food insecurity among older adults is a growing concern, with more and more older adults being forced to choose between buying groceries and paying for essential prescription medication or the utility bill. That wrenching reality means some seniors go days without a meal.

According to Feeding America’s State of Senior Hunger in 2017 report, released in 2019, 5.5 million adults age 60 and older across the United States suffer from food insecurity, representing 7.7 percent of the population. The problem is worse among older adults in Texas (10.5 percent) and Florida (8.4 percent).

Hunger rates among this population spiked by 45 percent since 2001. At the current rate, the 8 million seniors may be considered food insecure by the year 2050.

“As a national association with members serving some 4 million older adults with congregate and home-delivered meals, we salute the generosity of the Rapier family and WellMed. This is the kind of tangible philanthropy we need more of in our nation,” said Bob Blancato, executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Service programs, a leading advocacy non-profit organization for older adults based in Washington D.C.

“A recently release report by the Government Accountability Office noted that more than half of all programs serving home-delivered meals have waiting lists, which can contribute to not only hunger but later malnutrition. Eliminating these waiting lists for up to six weeks will be a lifeline for these older adults, while providing an opportunity for the programs to find additional funding.”

The WellMed Charitable Foundation is making food insecurity among older adults the major focus of its efforts in 2020, with plans to announce more grants to local charities from WellMed employee donations in the coming months.

Here are the Meals on Wheels programs receiving grants:

Texas

  • El Paso (and Las Cruces, N.M.): City of Las Cruces

o   $15,000 – 3,000 meals

  • Austin: Meals on Wheels of Central Texas

o   $70,200 – 14,040 meals

  • Corpus Christi: City of  Corpus Christi Senior Services Division

o   $69,150 – 13,830 meals

  • Dallas: VNA Texas

o   $60,000 – 12,000 meals

  • Fort Worth: Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County

o   $10,000 – 2,000  meals

  • Rio Grande Valley: Amigos del Valle

o   $286,280 – 57,256 meals

  • San Antonio: Meals on Wheels of San Antonio

o   $60,000 – 12,000 meals

***

***Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans & Their Families During COVID-19 (3/26/2020)

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics at Endeavors in El Paso, as well as San Antonio and Killeen, have adapted to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, by continuing to provide support through virtual appointments.

All three clinics are part of Cohen Veterans Network, a national not for profit organization serving veterans and military families via 15 clinics across the country.

Post-9/11 Veterans, including National Guard and Reserves, as well as military family members, can fulfill their mental health care appointments for depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleep problems, etc. via face-to-face video therapy, known as Telehealth. This service is easily accessible through a smartphone, tablet, or computer and will be utilized until further notice.

“We are proud to offer Telehealth to support not only our Veterans but their family members,” said Endeavors President & CEO, Jon Allman, “Telehealth is confidential and highly-effective.”

Clients also have access to case management support and local referrals to help with other stresses like unemployment, finances, housing, and legal issues. Each clinic is developing ways to provide online support groups and community events and will provide updates on social media: @CohenClinicSA, @CohenClinicEP, @CohenClinicKN.

To schedule a Telehealth appointment, please contact the clinics:

El Paso 915-320-1390 or EPclinic@endeavors.org

San Antonio 210-399-4838 or SAclinic@endeavors.org

Killeen 254-213-7847 or KNclinic@endeavors.org

To find out more about Telehealth, click here or call 833-CVN-VETS.

***

***Fort Bliss announces 7 confirmed of Coronavirus cases (3/25/2020)

During a Wednesday night virtual town hall, led by Garrison Commander Col. Stewart James, officials announced that the post now had a total of seven Coronavirus cases.

During his portion of the town hall, Col. Matthew Eichberg the coroanvirus cases included four reservists from New York, as well as two civilian employees, one other person.  Col. Eichberg added they were all in isolation.

Also announced during the streamed town hall was that the post was on a heightened level of security – “HPCON Charlie – short for Health Protection Condition. HPCON Charlie is the second highest alert the post can operate under; the highest, most restrictive level being HPCON Delta.

According to the Department of Defense, HPCON Charlie indicates “substantial risk and sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 disease.”

As part of the new restrictions, both the Underwood Golf Course, as well as the Fort Bliss Rod and Gun Club were closed. Fort Bliss officials also released a graphic, outlining the changes and cancellations.

***

***Health officials confirm city’s coronavirus count now at 21 (3/25/2020)

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, El Paso Department of Public Health’s Dr. Hector Ocaranza announced that the city now has 21 cases of Coronavirus, up from 12 on Tuesday.

Dr. Ocaranza added that most of the new patients are between 30 and 50 years of age.  The new total does not include the 4 soldiers at Fort Bliss who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials added that approximately 100 COVID-19 tests had been performed by the City’s Department of Public Health since Monday.

Also during the news conference, officials strongly urged El Pasoans to follow the city’s day old ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order.

“Social distancing continues to be a major concern even in the wake of public health orders for residents to Stay Home, Work Safe. Those who leave home should do so by themselves and avoid bringing children or seniors with them. As they make their way in the community they should also maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.”

Covering your cough, avoid touching your face, practicing regular handwashing, and cleaning common areas with disinfectant continue to be stressed. Local public health officials also want the public to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms don’t improve they should call their doctor.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

Age Range Number of Cases
Teens 2
20s 4
30s 4
40s 4
50s 2
60s 4
70s 1

The 2-1-1 Texas Call Center is available 24/7. Callers can dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information. Additionally, the COVID-19 hotline will be operational from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

***

***IDEA Public Schools to distribute meals to any students in the area (3/25/2020)

Officials with IDEA Public Schools El Paso announced Wednesday afternoon the expansion of their free meal pick up to all area students.

Everyday, El Paso continues to show their generosity and commitment to families, IDEA Public Schools has stepped up and is meeting the needs of the community.

To help support students during this school closure, curbside meal service will be provided at every IDEA campus to students 18 years old and younger, regardless if they are or are not an IDEA Public Schools student.

Breakfast and lunch are available Mondays-Fridays for pickup from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.

Students 18 years old or younger must be present to receive their meals. 2515 free meals have been served so far in El Paso

Visit IDEA Public Schools 3 Locations at:

IDEA Mesa Hills, 405 Wallenberg Dr, El Paso, TX 79912

IDEA Edgemere, 15101 Edgemere Blvd, El Paso, TX 79938

IDEA Rio Vista, 210 N Rio Vista Rd, Socorro, TX 79927

For more information about IDEA Public Schools, visit them on Facebook and on the web.

***

***Curbside iPad distribution starts in EPISD Thursday (3/25/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District will begin distributing iPads to families who do not have a computer or device in anticipation of the launch of EPISD@HOME, the District’s distance-learning program during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) related campus closures.

One iPad will be given to any family with elementary-school students who does not have either a home computer, laptop or tablet at home. Students must be present at the time of distribution and parents must present the child’s student identification number.

Distribution will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 26; Friday, March 27; and Monday March 30 at every elementary school in the District.

EPISD staff at school locations will maintain social distancing and asks the public to comply with those guidelines as well. The distribution of devices is allowed under the recently enacted City of El Paso Stay Home, Work Safe rule.

Please note that the distribution is for elementary-school students only. Middle- and high-school students have a District-issued MacBook Air.

Given the limited amounts of devices in stock, families will be limited to one iPad. Families who have personal laptops, desktops or tablets are asked not to pick up a District iPad in order to help EPISD meet the demand for those in need.

Each campus will have a limited supply of devices. More distribution dates will be announced when new devices arrive in the District.

***

***Paso del Norte Health Foundation launches COVID-19 Information Hub  (3/25/2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every facet of daily life. To help answer questions related to those changes, many of which will be long lasting, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation is launching the El Paso COVID-19 Information Hub.

The website at EPcovid19.org.

“While the local health response to the COVID-19 pandemic is being led by the City of El Paso Department of Public Health in partnership with the Office of Emergency Management, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation created the El Paso COVID-19 Information Hub to serve as a community center of local resources which can help you and your family navigate this new normal, including information for parents, veterans, employers, employees and others,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Organizations wishing to submit information about resources that they have available should visit EPcovid19.org and click on the “Submit Community Resources” button in the upper right corner.

Additionally, non-profit organizations in the region can share their needs for in-kind donations. Information will be updated on the site once moderators have approved it.

“The Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s vision is to ensure that the people of our region have the knowledge, resources, support and environment to live happy, healthy and productive lives,” Yellen said. “We encourage our community to use this site not only to get information but to share information with others.”

***

***Salvation Army asking for community’s help as demand rises for assistance (3/25/2020)

With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing rapidly in communities throughout the state, The Salvation Army of El Paso has significantly amplified its efforts to diminish the spread of the virus and ensure critical service, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

Requests for service have risen and a further spike is expected in the next few weeks and months. While services remain in place for the most vulnerable citizens, such as the homeless and others living near the poverty level, many people who have been able to pay their way prior to this outbreak may now face extreme difficulties due to mandated business closings. Countless residents now have no income and are in need of financial assistance.

“We are already seeing the effects and expect that to grow signifantly as this situation plays out,” said Major Florian Estrada of The Salvation Army. “So many people living with extremely tight budgets aren’t able to skip just one paycheck, much less weeks or months without pay. They are turning to us for help.”

The Salvation Army provides service to individuals and families in every zip code in the state and is working diligently to ensure people have access to food, shelter, and desperately needed services like housing and utility assistance.

In El Paso this includes preventive measures to protect our clients, volunteers and staff. Although our space is currently limited, our Family Shelter remains open and rooms are available for families, single women and men.

Our Social Services caseworkers are working diligently and continuing to provide services to our community from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Our pantry is distributing food boxes Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and our soup kitchen is distributing to go dinners at 6:00 pm daily.

The extra need is daunting, particularly due to the nature of the virus, which has caused the postponement or cancellation of numerous Salvation Army fundraising events, many that had been scheduled for the spring.

“There is a concern that the effect of this unprecedented event could be felt for years,” Estrada said. “We want to be here to provide basic needs to those we already serve and to have plenty for the new generation of need caused by this virus.”

Public support is essential, maybe moreso now than anytime in recent history.

“If those able are willing to help those who are in need, our state and nation will likely rise out of this devastating situation more quickly with fewer residual effects on the men, women and children suffering right now,” Estrada said. “The Salvation Army is committed to serving those who need our help, and we are thankful for generous public support that allows us to do so. We don’t want to turn anyone in need away, and the only way we can accomplish this is through generous public support.”

Donations also will help ensure the safety of those who depend on Salvation Army programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers. The organization is working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels.

In El Paso, The Salvation Army is working in close partnership with FEMA, CDC, DHW, and HHS.

To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, click here.

***

***EPWater temporarily suspends sandbag distribution (3/25/2020)

In the interest of social distancing and limiting in-person interactions due to international concern about Coronavirus (COVID-19), El Paso Water is temporarily suspending sandbag distribution until further notice.

The sandbag distribution site at 4801 Fred Wilson is closed, and the opening of satellite distribution sites are on hold until further notice.

“We are doing everything in our power to protect the health of both our employees and customers,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew.

***

***YISD launches new Health Hotline to answer COVID-19 questions (3/25/2020)

To help support our community in these unprecedented times and ease anxiety among families, the Ysleta Independent School District launched its new Health Hotline Wednesday to answer questions regarding COVID-19, in cooperation with the city health department.

Ysleta ISD administration has worked with the City of El Paso Department of Public Health since Monday to establish the new hotline, which connects callers with one of 61 Ysleta ISD nurses working from home who have been trained to provide information about the Coronavirus Disease in both English and Spanish.

The Ysleta ISD Health Hotline number is 915-434-1092, and it will be available for calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All Ysleta ISD parents and community members are encouraged to call the hotline with any questions they may have regarding COVID-19, which has prompted all El Paso-area school districts to temporarily shutter their campuses.

District officials say they’re hopeful this new hotline will not only assist in easing parent and community anxiety regarding the Coronavirus Disease, but provide much-needed support to city and county health officials in disseminating up-to-date information on the disease.

The Ysleta ISD Health Hotline launches just one day after the city health department announced its new Coronavirus Hotline, which can be accessed by calling 915-21-COVID – or 915-212-6843 – from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

This city hotline allows the 2-1-1 Texas call center to instead focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment, officials said.

In addition to announcing the new city hotline Tuesday, the city and county of El Paso issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order that directs the public to remain at their residence except to obtain essential services, or engage in essential activities/work for essential business/government services.

***

***Five additional cases of Coronavirus found in El Paso  (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported a total of 12 positive cases within the County of El Paso.

As the number of tests conducted by private laboratories increase, the City of El Paso will only report out El Paso County positive cases. This number will not include Fort Bliss cases.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 hotline (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID is available for questions.  The hotline will be operational from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

2-1-1 Texas Call Center will focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

***

***City offers drive thru COVID-19 Sample Collection to residents with Doctor’s Orders (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH), the Border Regional Advisory Council (BorderRAC), and other public health partners are collecting specimens to test for COVID-19.

Samples are being collected for first responders, healthcare workers, and patients with a doctor’s order. Only those members of the community who have met the testing criteria and obtained a doctor’s order for testing will be allowed entrance. The ordering doctor will schedule an appointment for the drive-thru collection site for the patient.

Local doctors and clinics that cannot collect specimens for testing have already begun to use this system.

“We are implementing a system so people who do not need emergency room care can be sampled and tested while not overwhelming the healthcare system,” said Wanda Helgesen, BorderRAC Executive Director.

To read the entire story, CLICK HERE.

***

***Two UTEP Employees Test Positive for COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

On Tuesday, March 24, two male employees of The University of Texas at El Paso tested positive for COVID-19. The employees traveled to an out-of-town event and returned to El Paso on Thursday, March 12.

Both employees are in self isolation and recovering at home.

Campus officials and support services are in contact by phone with the employees on a daily basis.

One of the employees had limited access into the Foster Stevens Basketball Center and the Larry K. Durham Sports Center on March 13. Both facilities have been isolated and have been cleaned regularly with disinfectant.

The following are recommendations to stay safe:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask

For the latest updates on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit UTEP’s coronavirus page.

***

*** YISD expands hours of drive-through meal service (3/24/2020)

In order to better serve our community during the weeks of school closure, the Ysleta Independent School District has expanded the hours of its drive-through meal service at 14 select campuses, where parents/guardians may pull up to the schools to receive meals for all eligible children under 18 who are present inside the vehicle.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, both breakfast and lunch meals for children will be distributed curbside to children inside vehicles that arrive between the expanded hours of 7:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays at the following 14 campuses:

Capistrano Elementary School
Constance Hulbert Elementary School
Desertaire Elementary School
R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
Bel Air Middle School
Del Valle Middle School
Parkland Middle School
Bel Air High School
Del Valle High School
Eastwood High School
Hanks High School
Parkland High School
Riverside High School
Ysleta High School

In these first two days of the drive-through meal service, Ysleta ISD employees provided more than 13,000 breakfast and lunch meals at all 14 sites.

During the weeks of school closure, Ysleta ISD remains committed to assisting its families in accordance with city and county health officials and directives, and will continue to monitor all developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

*** EPISD meal distribution continues through Stay Home, Work Safe rule (3/24/2020)

Meal preparation and distribution will continue thru the mandatory ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ period here in El Paso.

“Families are allowed to leave their home to pick up meals and then head back home to eat them,” EPISD officials shared. “Meals are passed out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with our employees are practicing social distancing to make sure they’re as safe as possible.”

***

***EPISD to pay subs, temps during school closures (3/24/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District approved new guidelines that will allow payments to be made to substitute teachers and temporary employees during the COVID-19 related school closures.

Trustees on Tuesday approved a resolution drafted by the administration that will give substitutes and temporary employees who have worked with the District since at least Jan. 1, 2020 some compensation.

“We are happy to be able to provide this peace of mind for our subs and temporary employees during these uncertain times,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “As one of the largest employers in the city, this move will have a positive impact on the financial
wellbeing of El Pasoans as they brace themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. “We hope this bring some comfort and relief.”

EPISD policies already allowed the compensation of its salaried and hourly employees under emergency guidelines. However, payment to non-permanent employees like substitutes and temps required Board approval and administrative review.

Under the plan, substitutes and temps will receive twice-a-month compensation that average their earnings from EPISD in January and February in 15-day increments.

This payment option will be in place only during the time the District is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

***

*** City, County officials announce mandatory ‘Stay Home -Work Safe’ order for area, goes into effect at 11:59P Tuesday EVENING

In an ongoing effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19, the City and the County of El Paso have issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order for the area that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, and be in effect until further notice.

El Paso City Mayor Dee Margo, El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego and Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza announced Tuesday morning the details of the new joint City-County order.

The order, the most stringent measures local officials have taken so far to address the worldwide public health crisis, is directing the public to remain at their residence except to obtain essential services or engage in essential activities and work for essential business and government services.

“We must protect the health and safety of this community. We cannot wait until it is too late, so we must continue working to stay ahead of the wave of cases and help flatten the curve by suppression of this virus,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “It is very important that residents and businesses cooperate to make this effort as successful as possible to keep our community healthy.”

“We are committed to keeping this community safe and healthy. While the effort is aggressive, there is no question that it will be effective in limiting COVID-19 exposure to the public,” said County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego. “We all must realize that our actions and inactions could have a lasting effect on the entire the community, this order will help ensure positive outcomes for the health of El Paso.”

The order applies to everyone in El Paso County to work safe and stay home with the exceptions of essential businesses and activities; to include but not limited to emergency personnel, healthcare personnel, groceries, financial, critical trades, postal services, food delivery or pick-up, home-based care, childcare, and those performing essential government functions.

The order will continue until further notice and those who are found violating it could face a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or be jailed for up to 180 days. To report non-compliance, please email COVIDCompliance@elpasotexas.gov.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.orgRead the complete order belowStay Home, Work Safe Order

***

***  UTEP issues letter regarding remote work for Student Employees (3/24/2020)

Miner Student Employees & Supervisors,

Due to ongoing developments with COVID-19 and changes in UTEP campus operations, a number of you likely have questions about how student workers will be affected, especially those who depend on university paychecks to cover their college expenses.

The health and well-being of our Miner community and the academic progress of our students are our top concerns, and we recognize that financial stability is an important element of student success.

As UTEP transitions to a remote workforce, we want to provide our student workers as much flexibility as possible to continue working. To that end, both student employees and supervisors should follow these guidelines:

  • Supervisors should enable student employees for remote work, exercising their full ability to flexibly identify activities, tasks and mechanisms for that work. We have provided some useful resources to help supervisors consider and develop various alternatives that are suitable for work assignments during the remote working period.
  • When working remotely, the student must have a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form on file with their supervisor. This form can be found on the UTEP Temporary Remote Work Policy webpage.
  • To cover any gaps regarding their remote work options, student employees are empowered to work on their professional development. The Office of Human Resources has compiled a list of Online Professional Development Resources that can be accessed anytime from anywhere.

For students who have not yet done so, please contact your supervisor regarding your work assignment, completing your Temporary Remote Work Agreement, and with any questions you may have.  Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.

Best,

Mark McGurk
Vice President for Business Affairs

***

*** Planning and Inspections Notice City Departments Take Precautions Amid Coronavirus Concerns (3/24/2020)

In light of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order the Planning and Inspections Department, is taking a series of measures to protect employees and customers.

The department is temporarily limiting in-person interactions with customers to minimize the spread of the highly contagious disease.  Effective immediately the One-Stop Shop will temporarily close to walk-in customers.

Staff will continue to be available to receive and return calls, make appointments, and respond to emails. All contractor registrations expiring between now and April 30, 2020 will be automatically extended without penalty, provided bond and general liability documentation or up-to-date or are submitted via email.

Planning and Inspections will be accepting and processing applications and other development related documents by email and/or regular mail or electronic submittal. Meetings will be conducted via conference calls and/or webex/skype.

Customers are encouraged to visit the website to pay online or submit plans, or to learn how to use these online services. Customers may also use the Build El Paso Inspection App, available for iOS or Android users, or IVR to schedule inspections by calling (915)-313-6100.

***

*** Environmental Services Department COVID-19 Related Service Changes (3/24/2020)

Effective immediately, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) will only pickup household waste placed inside gray bins on collection days.

Previously for a small fee the department allowed customers to dispose of extra household trash by bagging the extra waste and placing the bagged waste on the curb next to their gray bins on their collection day.

To protect ESD drivers and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the department is no longer allowing drivers to exit their vehicles to collect the extra, bagged trash placed on the curb.

CUSTOMERS SHOULD AVOID PLACING EXTRA BAGGED TRASH ON THE CURB. ONLY TRASH PLACED INSIDE A GRAY TRASH BIN WILL BE COLLECTED.

ESD reminds customers that all trash placed inside gray trash bins should bagged to prevent the waste from falling out of the bin.

For more information, please go online.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso Student with COVID-19 Self-Isolating  (3/24/2020)

We’ve been informed that a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso student has contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while traveling in California. The student has been self-isolating in El Paso and has not been on the TTUHSC El Paso campus or in any affiliated clinics since their return to El Paso.

TTUHSC El Paso leadership is in direct communication with the student to help them through this challenging time. Our top priority remains focused on the safety and security of our campus community.

We encourage everyone to engage in proper sanitary practices such as frequently washing their hands, and cleaning surfaces in which they come into frequent contact. We also encourage everyone to practice smart social-distancing practices, such as maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals and avoiding large gatherings.

The El Paso Department of Public Health is also communicating with our student and the people they were in contact with.

For more information about TTUHSC El Paso’s response to COVID-19, click here.

***

***City Offers New Hotline to Field COVID-19 Questions (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is now offering information about COVID-19 via (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID.

The hotline will be operational effective immediately from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This new system will allow the 2-1-1 Texas call center to focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

“This new hotline will be focused on answering questions about the disease itself and critical information regarding the COVID-19 impact to the members of our community,” said Ruth Castillo, DPH Preparedness Manager.

Local call takers will be up-to-date with information tailored to the El Paso Region. Callers will have the option to speak to someone in either English or Spanish and a language line is also available to translate more than 240 languages via this new number.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.org.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office issues new guidelines regarding contact with citizens (3/24/2020)

In accordance with the Stay Home, Work Safe order by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will implement the following changes to limit Sheriff’s Office personnel/Citizen contact.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Online Reporting

Calls for service received that are not “in progress” and do not require a Deputy to be on scene, will be referred to complete their reports online. Reports can be filed Online.

Fingerprinting

Members of the public who require fingerprints are asked to adhere to these hours and plan accordingly. Walk-ins for this purpose are no longer permitted.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon).
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

Office of Evidence and Property/ Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting citizens to contact the Office via telephone when asking to retrieve any personal property currently in Sheriff’s Office possession. This would specifically be any property or vehicle that has been stored by the Sheriff’s Office for either evidence or safekeeping.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the following numbers to make an appointment to retrieve their property and/or vehicle. Walk-ins for this purpose will not be permitted at this time.

Public Affairs – 3850 Justice Dr. El Paso, Texas 79938 – www.EPCSO.org 

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence and Property Section

The public should call 915-538-2283 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The public should call 915-538-2007 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: 12501 Montana Ave. Unit F., El Paso, TX 79938.

***

***2020 Spaceport America Cup Cancelled  (3/24/2020)

Spaceport America and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) have made the difficult decision to cancel the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup that was scheduled for June 16 – 20, 2020 at Spaceport America.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for canceling large events in order to keep the students, spectators and sponsors safe and healthy. The event was set to engage over 1,700 college students from 17 countries on a week- long rocket design and launch competition.

“Having groups of students working together to build their team’s rocket is contrary to the COVID-19 protocol released by the CDC, and the State of New Mexico’s proactive leadership on this issue,” explained Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America. “As much as we looked forward to having 154 universities participate, it is not the appropriate course of action at this time.”

“We are aware that this is incredibly disappointing news for the students, the universities, the communities of Sierra and Doña Ana Counties and our sponsors,” Hicks added. “It is important that the students respect and abide by their state and country guidelines for the health and safety of all.”

Last year, the 2019 Spaceport America Cup had 124 teams, 1,500 students, and representatives from 14 countries. The University of Washington took first place in the Spaceport America Cup, and the University of New Mexico won the inaugural Spaceport America Chile Cup.

Information on the 2021 Spaceport America Cup and possible actions with the 2020 Cup will be available at via this link.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso talks breaking the chain of infection: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

The main ways the public can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are at the personal level, said Armando Meza, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and associate academic dean of graduate medical education at the TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

This includes hand washing, social distancing, self-quarantines and preparing your home for possible COVID-19 exposure.

One of the simplest ways people can help prevent the virus’ spread is by thoroughly washing their hands.

“If you’re going to wash your hands with soap and water, you can use regular soap and tap water,” Dr. Meza said. “You want to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands and covering all the surfaces as much as possible. When you dry your hands, use a dry towel or paper towel, making sure that all surfaces are dry before you touch any object. It is important that once you have shut off the faucet, or anything on the sink, that you don’t touch those surfaces again, as they may be contaminated.”

Another way people can reduce the possibility of infection is through social distancing.

“Social distancing is the action government health departments take in asking the public to avoid exposure to an infectious agent,” Dr. Meza said. “That includes limiting activities that are not essential to our lives. We may be invited or given the opportunity to go places with a large gathering of people. If we avoid that, it would be very helpful.”

Self-quarantine measures will become necessary if a person has been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. Self-quarantine is the voluntary isolation, usually at home, of a person after potential exposure to an infectious agent. An example is staying home after returning from a trip to a high-risk country classified as a Travel Warning Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Two weeks is currently the recommended time to self-quarantine,” Dr. Meza said. “To stay in quarantine, essentials such as water, food and personal-care items should be available during this time period. In your home, stay away from any family members that may be at high risk for severe infection, such as the elderly or anyone with lung or heart disease.”

Dr. Meza emphasizes that preparedness on a personal level is key.

“Most importantly, stay educated on this condition by regularly reviewing reliable information found on the CDC website,” Dr. Meza said. “Avoid overstocking of supplies, since this will create a shortage crisis in the community. You should also keep your home clean, especially your kitchen and bathroom. Use of commercially available antimicrobial towels and sprays is appropriate.”

For more information on COVID-19, answers to frequently asked questions and helpful resources, visit TTUHSC El Paso’s COVID-19 website.

***

***Capstone Production’s Heritage Gold TV  series on El Paso history now available free, online. (3/24/2020)

Capstone Productions has announced that the Heritage Gold TV series has been released to the public for free viewing via the El Paso History TV YouTube page , providing a valuable educational and entertaining resource for children and adults during the coronavirus emergency.

“El Paso history is free on our YouTube channel, with more than 120 TV programs and segments about El Paso history,” said Jackson Polk, producer of the history segments. “We worked for two decades to produce our very popular DVDs about El Paso history that were sold in stores. Now is the time to make them available for home schooling and general viewing at no cost to the public.”

The free release of the TV documentaries will provide a fun, entertaining and educational way for El Pasoans to learn about their hometown’s rich history and cultural heritage, topics that are not generally taught in public schools. Most adults do not know about El Paso history, and this will be a time to join their children in learning about the amazing history of El Paso over the centuries.

PODCASTS FREE ONLINE

There is more history to access for free from the archives of “The El Paso History Radio Show” online at www.EPHistory.com .  The radio shows airs live each Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon on KTSM AM 690. The archived podcasts are free for listening, with a wide range of topics covering history in the El Paso area.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

Click here  for the video playlists.  Titles include “Legends of El Paso’s Mountains,” “El Paso’s Hueco Tanks,” “Gunfights of the Old West,” “Mexican Revolution Sites in El Paso,” for a dozen Heritage Gold titles online. There are also 16 “El Paso History TV” segments that were broadcast in El Paso.  More documentary programs will be announced every few days in the next six weeks.

RADIO SHOW PODCASTS

Go to www.EPHistory.com for the radio show archives.

***

***City: Coronavirus cases now at 10 (3/23/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported its seventh positive case for the County of El Paso. This latest case involves a woman in her 50s who has domestic travel history. She is currently self-isolating and recovering at home.

Three additional individuals were tested elsewhere, but reside in El Paso. The individuals are currently self-isolating and recovering at home bringing the total of El Paso residents with COVID-19 to ten people.

The Public Health Laboratory, which conducts tests for the region, has tested approximately 123 specimen as of Sunday, March 22.

The laboratory reported one positive test for a person residing in New Mexico, and has advised the New Mexico Department of Health. Fort Bliss conducts and declares its own tests for COVID-19.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

Additionally the 2-1-1 Texas Call Center is available 24/7. Callers can dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

***UTEP offers Computer Technology Financial Support (3/23/2020)

As you are already aware, beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, all courses for the spring semester will move to remote online delivery. We understand that this transition to online learning may be a burden for some students who do not have access to a computer at home. The following two programs may help.

  • If you are a student who received financial aid for either the fall 2019 or spring 2020 semester(s) and do not currently own a computer, there may be grant assistance to help you purchase a computer, internet hotspot, or tablet so that you can access your classes and course materials. Please email a request for this grant support to: studentfinancialaid@utep.edu. Be sure to include your full name, UTEP ID#, and a reliable phone number. We will contact you regarding your eligibility for grant assistance.
  • If you are not currently receiving financial aid, but still need assistance to purchase a computer, the Paydirt Emergency Loan Program is available to assist students. The maximum loan amount is $500. You can apply for this loan by emailinggchairez@utep.edu to request your personalized online application link.

All of us at UTEP remain committed to ensuring that every student finishes the semester without disrupting their educational progress. If you have any questions, please call the Office of Student Financial Aid at 915-747-5204.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex Closes All Centers – Virtual Services Continue (3/23/2020)

In response to concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) announces that all job centers will be closing effective Tuesday, March 24th.

All centers will be closed to the public and resource rooms will no longer be available for internet, printing and computer access.

WSB is still eager to assist with case management and job assistance, but all support will be handled virtually.  For more information, please call 915-887-2600 or visit the WSB resource website for continuous updates online.

Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

WSB offers a Workforce Guidance Video and Frequently Asked Questions download to assist those with questions. Click here to view the video or here to read the FAQ

***

***Local restaurateurs opens fund to assist food and beverage workers (3/23/2020)

Local food and beverage workers are among the first to be hurt by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But help is coming thanks to a group of local restaurateurs.

“Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are inherently social places, so guidance from health authorities to limit exposure to crowds and to practice social distancing hit us all hard,” said Maggie Asfahani, who owns Salt + Honey Bakery Café in Five Points.

“We were already hurting, but the executive order that restaurants close their dining rooms forced many restaurants, including mine, to temporarily close and lay off the employees who are the backbone of our business.”

Asfahani is leading a group of local service industry volunteers who have established the El Paso Food and Beverage Workers Fund within the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

The fund will provide direct relief to food and beverage workers who have been laid off or are working significantly reduced hours due to a temporary closure as a result of the pandemic.

To read the entire story, click here.  To donate, visit this website.

***

*** City of Socorro closes lobbies to the public (3/23/2020)

The City of Socorro in cooperation with Governor Abbott & County Judge Ricardo Samaniego to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be closing all City Lobbies & Offices to the public beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2020, until further notice.

The Public may receive assistance Monday through Friday 8 AM – 5 PM through:

The Socorro Municipal Court has suspended all courts until further notice, and all citations may be paid:

• Credit/Debit: Over the phone at (915) 872-8574
• Money Orders (include your contact information with Name, Phone

Number Address, and Citation Number) mailed to:

Municipal Courts
860 N. Rio Vista
Socorro, TX 79927

PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT EMERGENCIES BY CALLING 9-1-1 During this time all essential City services will continue to be provided.

Lastly, the City would like to remind everyone to stay safe by following the guidelines set in place by our health authorities. https://www.dshs.texas.gov
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

***

***NM Gov issues statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order to start Tuesday, March 24th at 8a (3/23/2020)

Monday afternoon, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she issued an order that suspends operations of all businesses and non-profits that are deemed “non-essential.”  Below is the full order:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced additional restrictions to disrupt the spread of the COVID-19 virus in New Mexico and instructed New Mexicans to remain in their homes or places of residence except for outings absolutely necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The order — to be issued by Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel and effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24 — closes all non-essential businesses, requiring 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to work from home. As in other states that have enacted similar measures, there are exceptions pertaining to essential services for the preservation of health, safety and well-being.

“The only way for us to stop the spread of this virus is for New Mexicans to stop interacting with each other,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “New Mexicans must be crystal-clear on this point: Right now, every time you leave your house, you are putting yourself, your family and your community at risk. Only by distancing from one another, by remaining home except for essential or emergency travel, can we limit the spread of this virus to the point that it does not overwhelm New Mexico.

“This clearly exempts people who are part of the essential functions that must continue: The individuals providing meals for kids at our schools; the individuals working at health care facilities, child care facilities, public safety entities and many more. Those individuals are helping keep us operating — in a new and limited way. They deserve our profound gratitude.

“As we wait for the federal government to get states the help we need in expanding capacity and testing materials and financial assistance, staying home is the one action all of us, individually and as a group, can control,” the governor added. “Please stay home. Help protect New Mexico.”

Intended to aggressively limit person-to-person contact in the state, the amended emergency public health order closes all non-essential businesses except for remote work.

The order advises that New Mexicans “must stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety or welfare” and further restricts “mass gatherings” of five or more individuals in outdoor spaces.

“Does this order mean you cannot walk your dog? No. Does it mean you can’t go for a jog? No. But you should not do those things in a group — and you should be home as soon as possible,” the governor said. “This social isolation strategy will only work if we all undertake it to the greatest extent we can. That boils down to one thing: Stay home.”

Businesses deemed essential that may remain open are:

  • Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, emergency veterinary and livestock services, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;
  • Homeless shelters, food banks, and other services providing care to indigent or needy populations;
  • Childcare facilities necessary to provide services to those workers employed by essential businesses and essential non-profit entities;
  • Grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, feed, and other animal supply stores, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products;
  • Farms, ranches, and other food cultivation, processing, or packaging operations;
  • All facilities used by law enforcement personnel, first responders, firefighters, emergency management personnel, dispatch operators, and court personnel.
  • Infrastructure operations including, but not limited to, public works construction; commercial and residential facility construction and maintenance; airport operations; public transportation; airlines; taxis; private transportation providers; water, sewer, trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal; gas; electrical; oil drilling; oil refining; natural resources extraction or mining operations; nuclear material research and enrichment; those attendant to the repair and construction of roads and highways; solid waste collection and removal; processing and disposal; data and internet providers; data centers; and telecommunications systems;
  • Manufacturing operations involved in food processing, manufacturing agents, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, household paper products, telecommunications, microelectronics/semi-conductor, primary metals manufacturers, machinery manufacturers, electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturers, and transportation equipment manufacturers;
  • Services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades;
  • Media services including television, radio, and newspaper operations;
  • Gas stations, automobile repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile repair products;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Laundromats and dry cleaner services;
  • Utilities, including their contractors and suppliers, engaged in power generation, fuel supply and transmission, water and wastewater supply;
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries;
  • Banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, brokerage services, and investment management firms;
  • Real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the United States government or a contractor to the United States government;
  • Restaurants, but only for delivery or carry out and local breweries or distilleries but only for carry out;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, but only where necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities; and
  • Logistics and businesses that store, ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences or retailers.

The order is in effect until April 10.  To view the news conference, click here.

***

***Sun Metro updates routes, boarding procedures (3/23/2020)

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Sun Metro will implement service modifications in response to COVID-19. The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

Service adjustments are as follows:

Fixed route service will operate on a Sunday schedule Monday through Saturday  with the addition of the following:

o   Routes 19, 43, 71, 73 will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Brio service (Mesa, Dyer, Alameda) will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Routes 3 and 42 will keep peak service hours, Monday through Friday.

o   Sunday service along with routes 83 and 84 will remain unchanged.

  • Fixed route service on Sundays will operate on a Sunday schedule with no additions.
  • Streetcar service is suspended until further notice.

In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes have also been implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

In order to accommodate rear entry and exit only (excluding exceptions noted above), Sun Metro is waiving all bus fares on Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services until further notice.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like their page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Curbside Meal Distribution at Senior Centers to Continue for Qualifying Senior Residents (3/23/2020)

As part of a joint meal distribution initiative by the Parks and Recreation Department and El Paso County, curbside distribution of meals will continue every Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to noon, at all City Senior Centers for seniors enrolled in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal Program.

The County meal program is preparing and providing five pre-packaged meals consisting of pre-packed shelf and pre-cooked frozen meals.

The meals are only available to adults 60 years-of-age and older who are currently enrolled and active in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal program.

Volunteers and employees with the Parks and Recreation Department are helping the El Paso County team distribute the curbside meals. The curbside pickup offers a quick, drive through option to keep seniors and volunteers safely separated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All City Senior Centers remain closed until further notice.

The El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) continues to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org or call dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

*** The El Paso Community Foundation and the Cardwell Foundation have made a grant to the USO El Paso to support soldiers in mandatory quarantine.

The $60,000 grant — from the Cardwell Foundation and the Julie and Jim Cardwell Fund in the El Paso Community Foundation — will help USO El Paso support troops being placed in  mandatory quarantine upon returning from Europe, some from high-risk areas.

The gift will pay for toiletries and hygiene products, such as soap and shaving cream, snacks and other needs for the returning troops.

To read entire story, click here.

***

*** Visitor Policy Update from EPCH, THOP, LPDSH and UMC  (3/23/2020)

Joint Statement Regarding No-Visitor Policy from El Paso Children’s Hospital, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso

In an effort to protect patients, physicians, staff and the community as COVID-19 continues to spread within our community, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will implement a no-visitor policy in all hospitals, beginning Monday, March 23. Our priority is to reduce the transmission risk within our sites of care.

Exceptions for The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will be made for laboring and post-partum patients; patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly; patients in the neonatal ICU (NICU) and pediatric units; patients requiring surgery or other emergency or trauma-related medical procedures; and patients requiring end-of-life care. One caregiver 18 years or older may accompany these patient populations; the visitor must pass our previously established health-screening criteria upon entrance into the facility. No visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms.

El Paso Children’s Hospital and Providence Children’s Hospital are limited to one parent/legal guardian at a time. Rotation of a patient’s essential parent/legal guardian should be limited to minimize any potential risk. Again, everyone must pass previously established health-screening criteria before entering the facility. No additional visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms. Anyone entering the facility will be asked if they have symptoms of illness and exposure risks upon arrival. Those who have non-severe symptoms such as a fever or cough will be asked to not enter to stop the spread of illness and to seek care from their physician.

While we understand the importance of having the support of loved ones during a hospital visit or stay, we must prioritize the health and safety of our patients and caregivers during this unprecedented pandemic. We encourage support persons to use alternate methods of communication to stay in contact with loved ones, such as phone calls, video chats or texting.

We will continue to modify our response protocols as the needs within our community evolve.

Everyone should continue taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Practice social distancing

If you are concerned that you’ve been exposed or have a general question about COVID-19, contact the El Paso County Health Department by calling 211 and choosing option 6.

***

***UTEP President Heather Wilson release letter to college staff (3/23/2020)

Colleagues,

While I hope all of you took some time to recharge over the weekend, I’m sure many of you monitored the continued news about COVID-19.

There are over 200 counties in Texas that have no cases of COVID-19 and the Governor has not ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order. Dallas is in a very different situation, with a major international air travel hub and more than a third of all of the cases in Texas. Every community and University is different and the state is supporting local decision making based on the circumstances in each community.

Having talked to local officials on Sunday, there is no evidence of community spread in El Paso, and the public seems to be acting responsibly with respect to congregation and social distancing. The few currently identified cases were people who contracted the disease elsewhere and traveled here or reside in the same household with those who did. At the same time, we all know that there is skepticism because of delays in testing and receiving results from testing which justify continued measures to keep people at home if they don’t have to leave home.

Early prevention efforts are important, and the decisions to prohibit large gatherings, close bars, and encourage working remotely to the maximum extent possible are prudent.

We’ve canceled face-to-face classes this week to give faculty the time to shift to distance delivery of their courses. Even small class sections will be shifted to online format. For labs and performance courses, faculty are identifying creative ways that students might gain and demonstrate competencies without being together on campus.

Whether it is a work day or not, every employee should be observing social distancing guidance, washing your hands regularly, avoiding social situations with more than 10 people and avoiding crowds.

While faculty are used to working from home and can do so quite easily, it is not always so easy for staff. In some cases, our staff who are paid hourly are in jobs that might be almost impossible to shift to remote work. That is why I want us to make prudent decisions on a case-by-case basis and give supervisors and employees flexibility.

We continue to monitor the situation in El Paso County and take actions every day that make sense to protect the health of students, faculty and staff and help reduce any impact on our healthcare system.

While we monitor the situation constantly, UTEP will continue to exercise the following guidance:

Remote Work: Vice Presidents in consultation with direct reports should actively identify maximum ways employees can work remotely in your areas – with priority for vulnerable populations – while continuing the mission. As many employees as possible should be working from home. Some disruption or confusion is likely and offices that are open will have fewer employees. If student employees can work remotely, they should be allowed to do so.

Length of Day: Offices are authorized to lengthen opening hours in circumstances where the work must be done on campus in order to reduce social interaction while allowing all employees to get their jobs done at staggered times.

Consolidation: For offices that provide face-to-face service, supervisors will assess whether that service can be provided while observing social distancing guidance. Supervisors may consolidate offices or go completely online or distance enabled even if there is a disruption in service with the approval of their Vice President. Not all offices on campus need to have their doors open this week. The request form to work remotely is here.

Public health guidelines: All offices and employees will follow best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including social distancing, handwashing, and staying at home when sick. Employees should also stay at home if a household member is sick.

It’s an anxious time. Keep helping each other. There are resources for you, as an employee, as well here.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of you for taking the situation we face seriously and taking appropriate actions to keep yourself, your colleagues and our students safe and healthy.

Heather Wilson

President

***

***Fort Bliss releases official statement on three New York City Army Reserve members with COVID-19 (3/23/2020)

On March 22, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel confirmed an Army Reserve soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City tested positive for COVID-19.  The soldier was in close contact with two of the soldiers from the same unit who were confirmed COVID-19 positive by William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine on March 20 to prevent further potential spread of the virus.  All four soldiers who were confirmed COVID-19 positive are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***Vitalant: Canceled blood drives, Coronavirus fears severely impact blood supply (3/23/2020)

Coronavirus responses have severely impacted the U.S. blood supply as Vitalant and other blood centers across the country are struggling to maintain stable inventories and avoid a critical blood shortage.

With school closures and workers at home, 25% of Vitalant’s blood collections anticipated in March have disappeared—almost overnight. And that number continues to grow.

Through the end of June, Vitalant—the nation’s second largest blood collector—has had over 1,400 blood drives canceled, resulting in nearly 41,000 uncollected blood donations.

Many state and local governments have barred people from leaving their homes, except for essential functions. FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an “essential and integral component of the emergency support function” as ongoing guidance from government entities recommend that people avoid gatherings and practice social distancing, and, in some states, “shelter in place”. But blood drives are not gatherings: they are blood donation operations that are key to our public health and safety.

To read the entire story, click here.

***

*** Governor Greg Abbott addressed Texans Sunday Afternoon, announcing new numbers, as well as actions by the state to combat the virus. (3/22/2020)

Governor Abbott addressed the state, updating the numbers of positive cases within the state, as well as the number of deaths and those who have been tested.

As of Sunday, six deaths have been reported in Texas; with almost 8700 Texans having been tested for COVID-19

Texas Department of State Health Service officials released a statement updating the number of people statewide that tested positive for the virus to 334 – up from 304 on Saturday.

Abbott also announced new action to increase the number of available nurses to help during the crisis, allowing retired or inactive nurses to reactivate their licenses.

For the issues of supplies, the governor announced additional adding staff that would be tasked to to find global sources of personal protection equipment, as well other supplies needed to combat the spread of the virus.

The governor also issued two Executive Orders, one postpone all “not medically necessary” surgeries at hospitals and the second suspending hospital regulations to increase capacity,  allowing hospitals treat more than one patient in a room.

Additionally, the recently-activated Texas National Guard would be deployed this week for use in testing locations, and helping in setting up healthcare facilities where needed.

As for a possible ‘Shelter in Place’ order for the entire state, the governor said that the effectiveness of his first Executive Orders from last week would be evaluated before any change would take place.  He pointed out that the ‘vast majority’ of the 254 counties in Texas did not have any cases of Coronavirus.

“The public knows that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin, and several other urban areas,” Gov. Abbott added. “…what may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties, that have zero cases of COVID-19.”

He added that local officials have the authority to implement stricter standards if they choose to do so.

Click here to view the Governor’s full statement.

***

*** Clint ISD Prepared for Remote Learning Beginning March 24 (3/22/2020)

Clint ISD schools and buildings remain closed through April 3 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, we are committed to continue to provide the quality education our parents and community has come to expect from Clint ISD.

Four years ago, Clint ISD invested in the 1:1 Device Initiative to provide every student with an iPad, Chromebook or laptop. This has allowed Clint ISD to create a robust remote learning plan for every student in Pre-K through 12th grade so learning can continue for students during the current district closure.  In addition, Clint ISD has purchased 5,000 hotspots to assist our families with Internet access.

On Monday, March 23, Clint ISD teachers and schools will begin contacting students and parents to determine technology needs and provide support as students prepare to learn from home. On Tuesday, March 24, students will begin the Clint ISD Remote Learning Plan through Friday, April 3.

Parents may access their child’s daily learning schedule and assignments, as well as information on free lunches, technology needs, and contact information on our District website, www.clintweb.net, and on school websites.

If parents need assistance, they can contact their child’s teacher or district personnel for assistance and support between 8 am to 3 pm.

***

*** NM Department of Health announces 2 more cases in Dona Ana County; Statewide total now at 65  (3/22/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Sunday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.  Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

Two new cases in Doña Ana County:

  • ​A female in her 50s.
  • A female in her 20s.

Two new cases in Bernalillo County:

  • A female in her 60s.
  • A male in his 30s.

One  new case in McKinley County:

  • ​A male 9 years old.

One new case in San Juan County:

  • ​A male in his 50s.

Two new cases in Santa Fe County:

  • ​A male in his 30s.
  • A male in his 40s.

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 65 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 34
  • Doña Ana County: 4
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 2
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Juan County: 1
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 10
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Two additional soldiers at Fort Bliss test positive for Coronavirus; total stands at 3 on post (3/21/2020)

On March 20, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel had confirmed an Army Reserve Soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City, tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine to prevent further potential spread of the virus.

Today, two of the original Soldier’s roommates from the same unit have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. All three Soldiers are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section, Precinct 6 Constables, Operation H.O.P.E pass out food  (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section and Constables from Precinct 6 assisted Operation H.O.P.E during their emergency food giveaway at the El Paso County Coliseum.

The drive-thru event allowed for deputies, constables, and volunteers to distribute the food baskets while families remained inside their vehicles.

Operation H.O.P.E. in partnership with the Rock Center, Mayor Oscar Leeser, Sheriff Wiles and the Sheriff’s Office distributed 750 food baskets to help the El Paso community during these difficult times.

To view the full album from the giveaway, click on this link.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex announces immediate job opportunities (3/21/2020)

 Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) is eager to share a variety of job opportunities available in the Borderplex area.  Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is looking to fill at least 10 Temporary Customer Service Rep II positions at the West Texas Tele Center at 1359 Lomaland Drive.  These positions are critical to assist Texans with their unemployment claims.

Over 500 positions are available with several different businesses listed below.

  • Albertsons
  • Alorica
  • Dona Ana County Detention Center
  • Lowe’s (cashiers, delivery drivers, sales positions and overnight supervisors)
  • RoofToppers El Paso
  • Sky Transportation
  • Spartan Construction
  • U.S. Census
  • Valley Super Market
  • Vista Supermarkets
  • Walmart

For more information, jobseekers can call 915-887-2600.  Businesses looking to hire can call 915-887-2332.  Additional resources for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis can be found at the Borderplex jobs website.

***

***El Pasoans Fighting Hunger to open ‘Mega Pantries’ staring Monday, March 23 (3/21/2020)

Officials with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank (EPFH) announced new distribution sites around the city, as the organization is experiencing a unique demand for emergency food boxes from individuals and families in need of assistance.

“To meet the evolving needs due to the spread of COVID-19 – coronavirus –  EPFH has teamed up with local partner agencies to set-up Mega Pantry distribution sites throughout El Paso starting Monday, March 23, 2020.”

The distribution schedule will be Monday through Friday from 10AM-2PM at the following locations:

Northeast – Katie’s Pantry – 4801 Sun Valley

Central – Kelly Center for Hunger Relief – 915 N. Florence

Lower Valley – Camino de Vida – 7822 San Jose Rd.

Socorro/Clint/San Elizario – El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank – 9541 Plaza Circle

Starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020

West – Abundant Living Faith Center West – 7100 N. Desert Blvd.

~~To read the complete story, click here~~

***

***Bishop Seitz, priests climb Cristo Rey in prayer for quick end to Coronavirus pandemic (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, Bishop Mark Seitz, along with a small cohort of priests from around the Diocese of El Paso climbed up Mt. Cristo Rey in prayer for the El Paso community for a quick end to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

6 priests and one Seminarian along with Bishop Mark Seitz, climbed to the summit of Mt. Cristo Rey on Saturday morning.  Photos below courtesy Diocese of El Paso/Facebook

***

*** Streetcar Service suspended to Protect Public from Evolving COVID-19 (3/21/2020)

Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 the El Paso Streetcar will suspend all operations in response to COVID-19.  The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

As a reminder, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020. Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Other recently announced service adjustments include:

  • In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

o   Effective Monday March 30, 2020 the Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

*** 2nd Case of Coronavirus found in Dona Ana County, Statewide count now at 57 (3/21/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Saturday announced fourteen additional positive tests for COVID-19, including the 2nd case in Dona Ana County.
Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:
9 new cases in Bernalillo County:
  • A female in her 70s
  • A female in her 60s
  • Two males in their 40s
  • Two males in their 30s
  • A female in her 30s
  • A female in her 20s
  • A male infant
1 new case in Doña Ana County:
  • ​A female in her 20s
1 new case in Lea County:
  • ​A male in his 70s
1 new case in Sandoval County:
  • ​A female in her 40s
1 new case in Santa Fe County:
  • ​A male in his 50s
1 new case in Taos County:
  • ​A female in her 50s
Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 57 positive tests for COVID-19:
  • Bernalillo County: 32
  • Doña Ana County: 2
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 8
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3
The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.
The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.
State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.
Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.
New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).
People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Sun Metro Notice of COVID-19 Service Changes; Free Rides, Schedule Modifications Programmed (3/21/2020)

In response to COVID-19, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Streetcar will continue to waive fees as well. Other service adjustments include:

 In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

Effective Monday March 30, the following service changes will be implemented:

o   Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

o   The El Paso Streetcar will operate on a Sunday schedule the entire week.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Police Implement Modifications in Response to COVID-19 Threat (3/20/2020)

In an effort to address on-going concerns surrounding the presence of COVID-19 in the El Paso Police area, the El Paso Police Department is implementing modifications to our response protocols.

Dispatchers will now ask health and travel related questions to individuals requesting Police response. Dispatchers may provide callers with specific instructions regarding their interactions with Police, to include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from officers.

Citizens are strongly encouraged to utilize on-line and telephone reporting options to file Police reports when Police response is not paramount.

The El Paso Police Department will continue to provide the same high quality service that has exemplified our department for decades.

We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation in our effort to maintain the safety of both citizens and officers in this trying time.

Police Non-Emergency: 915-832-4400
Telephone Reporting: 915-832-4436
On-line Reporting via this link

***

***First case of Coronavirus found at Fort Bliss (3/20/2020)

Friday night, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center confirmed that a soldier at Fort Bliss has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to WBAMC officials, the soldier is assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company, part of an Army Reserve unit from New York City, at the post for training.

The soldier is now in isolation at the post.

This is the first confirmed case of the virus at Fort Bliss, along with six other cases confirmed in the El Paso area.

***

***New Restrictions for Cross-border Travel at El Paso Ports of Entry (3/20/2020)

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo is supporting a decision by the federal government to limit travel along land ports of entry connecting the United States and Mexico to “essential travel.”

“We are one region dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, it is imperative that as a region we restrict unnecessary travel and personal contact,” Margo said. “At this time I believe the Federal limitations applied to our bridges will still allow for commerce and essential business to be conducted.”

Homeland Security plans to restrict travel into the United States through land ports along the U.S-Mexico border to “essential travel.” The restrictions will begin at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 20, 2020 and will remain in place until April 20, 2020.

“Essential travel” includes (but is not limited to):

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States)
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work)
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies)
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico)
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.
  • Armed Forces, returning to the United States
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations

The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this Notification:

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The City of El Paso manages southbound lanes at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton and Ysleta/Zaragoza ports of entry. The southbound lanes will continue to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

South bound lanes at the ports of entry managed by the City of El Paso remain open to travelers crossing into Juárez, Mexico. Travelers are encouraged to limit their travel into Mexcio to “essential travel,” and to stay vigilant of travel notifications issued by Mexico.

***

***1st Armored Division HQ, Fort Bliss release statement regarding on-going battle with Coronavirus  (3/20/2020)

The @USArmy along with the Division has taken steps to protect the health of our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. We are committed to the health protection of the Force as we address the challenge of COVID19 together.

***

***City Issues Amended Emergency Directive to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 (3/20/2020)

On Friday the City of El Paso amended the City’s emergency directive in accordance with guidelines issued by the state and federal government, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The following order will go into effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, March 20, and will remain in effect until April 3, 2020:

  • 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.

The directive does not prohibit the public 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.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum social distancing.

For more information visit www.epstrong.org or www.EPHealth.com and click on the COVID-19 page.

***

***EPCC will close all facilities starting at midnight, Friday March 20th (3/20/2020)

As per Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order intended to further contain the spread of COVID-19 across Texas, El Paso Community College (EPCC) will close its facilities beginning midnight March 20th through midnight April 3rd.

College Administrators will be on duty via distance technology. There will also be limited essential staff on-site to ensure critical college operations continue. These are in the process of being determined. Employees should not report for duty unless they are contacted by their supervisor. Employees who are able may perform their duties via technology from home after consulting with their supervisor.

As previously announced, all courses will be taught online via Blackboard beginning March 30th. Students enrolled in labs, practicums or similar courses should contact their instructor for additional guidance and instructions. EPCC is committed to ensuring students can continue learning and finish the spring semester.

EPCC has a substantial public interest in and is committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, employees and the community. We will continue to follow guidance as directed by government and health authorities.

EPCC will continue to provide updates online, via EPCC email, social media and Tejano Alert.

***

***Municipal Court to Close for In-Person Services  (3/20/2020)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of the public and City of El Paso employees, the El Paso Municipal Court will be closed to the public for in-person services starting Monday, March 23, until further notice.

All court hearings, sessions and jury duty at all bond office locations will be suspended during this time. The court will reschedule and notify residents who have scheduled trials, hearings or jury appearances by mail with a new time and date.

In addition, Municipal Court activities such as Juvenile Case Management Classes, Youth Delinquency Prevention Classes, and Teen Court will be suspended.

While Municipal Court facilities remain closed, residents can still conduct business with the court online or by phone. Residents are encouraged to resolve their citation(s) through the following methods:

·        Online payments: www.citepayusa.com

·        Phone payments: (915) 212-0232

·        Online chat with a court clerk: www.elpasotexas.gov/municipal-courts

·        Email: defendants@elpasotexas.gov

Additional information including questions or concerns is available by calling the El Paso Municipal Court at (915) 212-0215 or visiting the city’s website.

***

***Fabens ISD releases update on district closure, Pickup meal service starts March 23rd (3/20/2020)

As the local situation and government response to COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, we are monitoring all information and making adjustments to our educational plans.

Until further notice, only essential staff will report to work on Monday, March 23, through April 3, 2020.

Supervisors will notify staff who are deemed essential staff. This is in order to complete critical functions such as payroll, food services, security, etc., so we can be able to continue serving our students, employees, and community during this difficult time.

During the weeks of school closure, Fabens ISD is committed to serving breakfast and lunch to all students and children 18 years old and younger.

Beginning March 23rd through April 3rd, excluding Saturday and Sunday, meals can be picked up curbside at the Fabens High School cafeteria from 7:30 – 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

Please continue to check the Fabens ISD website for updates.

***

***El Paso Comic Con (EPCON) postpones annual event until October (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with the annual El Paso Comic Con announced the postponement of the event until October 2-4th. Below is their statement:

The producers of El Paso Comic Con continue to closely monitor the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the growing awareness and concerns, we have decided it is in the public’s interest to move El Paso Comic Con to October 2-4, 2020 at the El Paso Convention Center.

More information about the event to come.Your tickets will be honored on the new dates. We’ll see you in October!

***

***El Paso Chihuahuas to stream virtual game(s) against Leigh High Valley IronPigs (3/20/2020)

For those residents who are missing baseball the @epchihuahuas have the cure, as they started a virtual 3 game series versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs yesterday.   The ‘Dawgs dropped the first game at Lehigh Valley 9-2, and look to bounce back tonight.

Check out the virtual Chihuahuas as they take on @IronPigs on @Twitch at 5:05p Watch LIVE via this link.

***

***William Beaumont Army Medical Center to begin COVID-19 screening at Main Hospital Gates (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center released the following information via their social media pages:

***

***The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park Delays Opening (3/20/2020)

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park announced that the hotel opening has been delayed.  A statement has been provided below.

“The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park stands in solidarity with our country’s current stance on social distancing and the preventative measures needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. At this time, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone our reopening to a date later this spring. Our entire hotel team stands behind this decision as it is our responsibility to act in the best interest of our employees and future guests.

We will continue to monitor state and national health advisories and mandates, and we will announce a new opening date when appropriate. We look forward to opening our doors and ushering in the next era of The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park very soon. From the re-imagination of La Perla, our spectacular rooftop bar which was once Elizabeth Taylor’s penthouse, to the innovative dining experience our Executive Chef Andres Padilla will offer at Ámbar Restaurante, the transformation has been remarkable, and we can’t wait to share it with you.” 

***

***Dona Ana County records first case of Coronavirus, State total stands at 43 (3/20/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

  • ​A female in Bernalillo County in her teens
  • Two males in Bernalillo County in their 40s
  • A male in Doña Ana County in his 20s
  • A male in McKinley County in his 30s
  • A female in Sandoval County in her teens
  • A male in Sandoval County in his 80s
  • A female in Taos County in her 70s

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 43 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 23
  • Doña Ana County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 6
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 7
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 2

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive.

To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***President Trump announces pending closure of US/Mexico Border, Tax Day moving from April 15 to July 15 (3/20/2020)

President Donald Trump, during his daily team briefing on Friday, announced that the US-Mexico border would be closed tonight, the latest step in the county’s journey to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stated the closure would go into effect midnight Friday at both the northern and southern borders.

Officials added that the closure would last at least 30 days.  When asked about a nationwide lockdown, President Trump said, “I don’t think so.”

The closure deals with non-essential travel, and does not apply with border crossers who attend “educational institutions.”  As for those migrants taken into custody at the border, Secretary Wolf said they would be returned to “Canada, Mexico…and other countries without delay.”

Administration officials made the point several times that the closure would not harm trade, and was in effect to curb any migrants entering the country that could have the Coronavirus.

In addition to the closing of the border, President Trump announced that tax day would be moved from April 15th to July 15th.  Taxpayers would be able to file with no penalties and no penalties.

On Thursday, a new travel alert was issued by the State Department urging Americans not to go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.  In part, the alert read:

“In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

***

***UTEP releases information, helpful procedures in wake of U.S.- Mexico Border Restrictions (3/20/2020)

Today, it was announced that the U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement to restrict all non-essential travel in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes the ports of entry in the El Paso/Juárez area. It will be effective at midnight March 21, 2020.

Examples of essential travel include travel to attend educational institutions, for medical purposes, for emergency response and public health services, and for individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade.

As this situation continues to develop, we will share additional information.

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico have also suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services as of March 18, 2020. Exceptions will be made for certain emergencies. Contact the Embassy or consulate in your area directly for specific information on available services.

Members of the UTEP community who are unable to cross the border to return to their normal place of residency may need to seek out temporary living arrangements with friends or family members if available.

Those individuals who need assistance finding a place to live should contact Elisa Espinosa at eespinosa4@utep.edu or 915-747-6117.

• Students are expected to continue to fulfill online or other course requirements once courses begin remotely on March 30.

• Difficulties with internet access or completing course requirements online should be discussed directly with the professor.

• Staff and faculty who are unable to report to work due to the border restrictions and need assistance should contact Sandy Vasquez at svasquez@utep.edu or hrs@utep.edu, or call 915-747-7873.

International students who are impacted by the border closure should report any changes in their temporary or permanent residency to the Office of International Programs at oip@utep.edu or 915-747-5664. For more information, visit this website.

The UTEP community is working together to support our students, staff and faculty impacted by recent developments at the border. We will continue to update the community as we receive new information

***

*** TFCU to close all branch lobbies from Monday, March 23rd thru at least April 13, Drive thrus to remain open (3/20/2020)

 TFCU‘s Executive Management and Board of Directors have been, monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the beginning. They have a Response Team in place to ensure the safety and health of staff and members while still providing the community with the highest level of service.

Therefore, to maintain the well-being of members and staff and to limit the spreading of COVID-19(Coronavirus) in our community, TFCU will be temporarily closing all its branch lobbies beginning Monday, March 23 until Monday, April 13 or further notice.

At this time, all branch drive-thrus will remain open during normal business hours. Normal business hours are: Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Members can complete most of their usual lobby transactions through the drive thru; however, TFCU offers a variety of convenience services like online banking, mobile app, TFCU Branch ATMs, Allpoint Network ATMs, ProPay, and their Personal Audio Teller Response System (PAT) where you can check your balances, make transfers, and even check the status of your loan all from the safety of your home. For more information on their convenience services, please visit tfcu.coop.

In addition, TFCU assures the community that they are available to help those in need during these economically challenging times with loan payment extensions or special assistance loans. To find out more about how TFCU can help you, please call 915-544-5626.

If you have any additional questions about your specific situation, please contact their Call Center at 915-843-8328 during normal business hours.

***

***El Paso ISD updates on student meal distribution, procedures starting Monday (3/20/2020)

EPISD next week will begin distributing free, take-home meals for any child ages 1-18 at fifty school sites throughout the District as part of the Emergency Preparedness Week response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to any child, regardless of their enrollment status in the district the weeks of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3.

he meals will be to take home. No dinning will be allowed in the schools.

Breakfast will be served only on March 23 only from 8 to 9 a.m. Lunch for the two weeks will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children will be given a lunch and take-home breakfast for the next morning. Children must be present to receive the meal.

The meals will be distributed at the following schools:

  • Andress High, 5400 Sun Valley
  • Aoy Elementary, 901 S. Campbell
  • Armendariz Middle, 2231 Arizona
  • Austin High School, 3500 Memphis
  • Barron Elementary, 11155 Whitey Ford
  • Bassett Middle, 4400 Elm
  • Bonham Elementary, 7024 Cielo Vista
  • Bowie High, 801 S. San Marcial
  • Brown Middle, 7820 Helen of Troy
  • Canyon Hills Middle, 8930 Eclipse
  • Chapin High, 7000 Dyer
  • Charles Middle, 4909 Trojan
  • Clardy Elementary, 5508 Delta
  • Coldwell Elementary, 4101 Altura
  • Cooley Elementary, 107 N. Collingsworth
  • Crockett Elementary, 3200 Wheeling
  • Crosby Elementary, 5411 Wren
  • El Paso High, 800 E. Schuster
  • Fannin Elementary, 5425 Salem
  • Franklin High, 900 N. Resler
  • Green Elementary, 5430 Buckley
  • Guerrero Elementary, 7530 Lakehurst
  • Guillen Middle, 900 S. Cotton
  • Hawkins Elementary, 5816 Stephenson
  • Henderson Middle, 5505 Robert Alva
  • Herrera Elementary, 350 Coates
  • Hillside Elementary, 4500 Clifton
  • Kohlberg Elementary, 1445 Nardo Goodman
  • Lee Elementary, 7710 Pandora
  • Logan Elementary, 3200 Ellerthorpe
  • MacArthur Elementary, 8101 Whitus
  • Magoffin Elementary, 4931 Hercules
  • Mesita ECDC, 220 Lawton
  • Morehead Middle, 5625 Confetti
  • Moreno Elementary, 2300 San Diego
  • Moye Elementary, 4825 Alps
  • Nixon Elementary, 11141 Loma Roja
  • Park Elementary, 3601 Edgar Park
  • Putnam Elementary, 6508 Fiesta
  • Rivera Elementary, 6445 Escondido
  • Roberts Elementary, 341 Thorn
  • Ross Middle, 6101 Hughey
  • Rusk Elementary, 3601 N. Copia
  • Stanton Elementary, 5414 Hondo Pass
  • Terrace Hills Middle, 4835 Blossom
  • Tom Lea Elementary, 4851Marcus Uribe
  • Travis Elementary, 5000 N. Stevens
  • Whitaker Elementary, 4700 Rutherford
  • Wiggs Middle, 1300 Circle
  • Zach White Elementary, 4256 Roxbury

***

***Ysleta ISD updates hours of operation for meal distribution (3/19/2020)

The hours of operation HAVE CHANGED for the distribution of breakfast and lunch meals at Ysleta ISD schools during the closure beginning Monday, March 23.
At select campuses, vehicles can pull up from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive BOTH breakfast and lunch meals on a drive-through basis for children inside the vehicle.

The select campuses are:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School
Thank you for partnering with us to make sure all YISD families are aware they can receive both breakfast and lunch meals for their children when they visit the select campuses above between the revised hours of 7:30-10:30 a.m. on weekdays during the school closure.

***

***Canutillo ISD times/locations for free meal distribution (3/19/2020)

Canutillo ISD will serve free breakfast and lunch for any child ages 1-18 in El Paso who may need a meal during the declared weeks of emergency preparedness of March 23 – April 3, when the District will be closed.

The Breakfast schedule at these campuses will be from 7 am to 9 am.
The Lunch schedule at these campuses will be from 11 am to 1 pm.

The meals will be served at the following schools:

  • Canutillo High School
  • Bill Childress Elementary
  • Garcia Elementary
  • Canutillo Elementary

***

***Ysleta ISD updates times, campuses that will offer curbside meals (3/19/2020)

To help minimize the impact to YISD families during the weeks of school closure, select campuses will offer weekday breakfast and lunch meals to school-aged children between ages 1-18 on a drive-through basis.

Vehicles will be allowed to pull up to the campuses listed below from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive both breakfast and lunch meals for children inside the vehicle:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School

As always, the district will continue to work closely with city and county health officials, and monitor any developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

***IDEA Public Schools close until further notice, implements Distance Learning, Meal Service Program (3/19/2020)

To help keep our community safe, IDEA Public Schools campuses in Texas will remain closed until further notice. All planned events, athletics, field trips, after-school programs and other campus activities have been canceled for the remainder of the year.

Student instruction will continue online via distance learning for all students in grades Pre-K through 12 beginning:

  • Monday, March 23 in Tarrant County
  • Tuesday, March 24 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 30 in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and Austin

IDEA will also provide physical copies of school materials available via curbside pickup.

In an effort to provide essential services that support the well-being of our students and families, all campuses will remain open only for curbside meal services for families beginning:

  • Thursday, March 19 in Tarrant County
  • Friday, March 20 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 23 in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, and El Paso

Select campuses will remain open to provide limited childcare to IDEA parents who work in critical public safety roles such as healthcare, first response, city or county-based roles.

Childcare will be available for these parents at designated campuses from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and will abide by CDC guidelines for public health, including temperature checks upon entry and gatherings of no more than 10 people per childcare area.

Childcare will be available for up to 50 students per site on a first-come, first-served basis.

Families wanting more information on extending school closure, meal service, childcare services, and the distance learning program, may visit IDEA’s website

***

***Emergence Health Network reminds community of mental health and wellness needs during this time (3/19/2020)

Emergence Health Network, the area’s mental health and wellness professionals, remind residents that they continue to offer crisis services for those needing them throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Residents can call the Emergence Crisis Line at 915-779-1800, 24/7 if they need services.

Live operators continue to staff the crisis line as usual.

***

For official info on COVID-19 click on the links provided below: 

City of El Paso Department of Public Health   |   Center for Disease Control (CDC)   |   World Health Organization

***

To read previous local information/releases, click on the dates below: 

March 3rd thru 9th   |   March 10th through 12th  |  March 13 through 15  |   March 15 thru 19th

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