Bellaire - Meyerland - West U Edition | May 2020

BELLAIRE MEYERLAND WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1  MAY 5JUNE 1, 2020

ONLINE AT Fightingback

Houston doctors, engineers search for ways to turn the tide against COVID19

INSIDE

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BY HUNTER MARROW

“If all goes well, we estimate that we may have a COVID19 vaccine candidate ready for Phase 1 human clinical trials in a year from now, which is when we predict the safety trial for the SARS vaccine still will be running.” Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital researchers are developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

COURTESY BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE

UT Health analyzed several risk factors, including age, demographics and the prevalence of other pre-existing conditions, to identify where people are most susceptible to severe complications of COVID-19. mapping I N C R E A S E D R I S K <3% 3%-4% 5% 6% 7%-14% At-risk population

Health, demographics reveal Houston’s potential coronavirus vulnerabilities BY EMMA WHALEN

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from home and home-school her son. “She is the only person who leaves our home,” she said. “And I want to minimize her risk.” Rodriguez, a lifelong resident of Gulf- ton and president of its super neigh- borhood, spends much of her time

When the Metropolitan Transit Sys- tem of Harris County began reporting conrmed cases of coronavirus among drivers, Gulfton resident Sandra Rodri- guez told her mother she would begin driving her to and fromwork every day, despite her own responsibility to work

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SOURCE: UT HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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Keeping the lights on 8.6%

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

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of Greater Houston-area small-business owners surveyed projected their business would survive for six weeks or less without government assistance.

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Virtual and in-person DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS We’re still here for you Even during these challenging times, Houston Methodist doctor offices are open and seeing patients who need our care. Though your appointment may not look like a typical appointment, our providers may see you via video visit, telephone or in person, when needed. Rest assured, we are taking every precaution to ensure we can safely see you and meet all your health care needs.

houstonmethodist.org/hereforyou 713.790.3333

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

WE NEED TO SUPPORT THE BEST GOOD CAUSE OF ALL: EACH OTHER.

Our city is famous for its Big Houston Heart. But right now, Houston is under attack. It’s a virus.

At St. Luke’s Health, we know who’s defending us – the city’s Healthcare teams, EMS, Police, Rescue Workers, and Fire Fighters. And what supports them? It’s our collective commitment to the basics: washing hands, practicing social distancing, and staying home. Simple. But critical. Because if we don’t take care of the frontline, who’s going to take care of us?

Take care of the basics. And show what our Big Houston Heart really can do. ShowUsYourHoustonHeart.org | #ShowUsYourHoustonHeart

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: On behalf of the Community Impact Newspaper family, I want to thank all of those on the front lines and the behind-the-scenes heroes who are out daily facing the dangers of COVID-19, making an impact and serving our community. The stories of sacrice by so many are truly inspirational and heartwarming. You have my sincerest thanks. Amy Godfrey, GENERALMANAGER

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERHOUSTONMETRO Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford GENERAL MANAGER Amy Godfrey, agodfrey@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard SENIOR EDITOR Matt Dulin CITY HALL REPORTER Emma Whalen

IMPACTS

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FROMMATT: While there are dozens of eorts to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, we should be proud to root for our own Texas Medical Center, which could help deliver some game-changing breakthroughs. As reporter Hunter Marrow’s front-page story details, the expertise and resources here are impressive and inspiring. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Loop 610/I69 interchange work &more BUSINESS 10 Business owners face uncertain future EDUCATION 13 Houston ISD’s new grading policy CITY& COUNTY 14 News fromHouston, Harris County & Bellaire INSIDE INFORMATION 15 Learn how to make a face mask ASKA REALTOR 20 How is COVID19 aecting the market?

REPORTER Hunter Marrow COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury STAFFWRITERS Beth Marshall, Danica Smithwick ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant GRAPHIC DESIGNER Stephanie Torres STAFF DESIGNER Chase Brooks BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Claire Love ABOUT US John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. CONTACT US

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Stories about helping others 7

Local sources 18

Business coming soon 1

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Visit our website for updated information in the coming weeks. Stay healthy Houston. www.HoustonGymnastics.com We look forward to seeing you in our new facility after we combat this health crisis.

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Bellaire - Meyerland - West University edition • May 2020

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F O

GOV. GREG ABBOTT ON APRIL 27 ANNOUNCED BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS CAN REOPEN MAY 1 AT 25% CAPACITY. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS UP TO DATE AS OF PRESS TIME.

Dr. Libu Varughese, MD

Dr. Jongoh Kim, MD

BELLAIRE OFFICE: ���� Dashwood Dr. Suite #���, Houston, TX �����

RELOCATIONS 5 Lifecycle Pilates moved into its new location at 5455 Dashwood St., Ste. 100, Bellaire, in February. 346-293-9936. www.lifecyclepilates.com NEWOWNERSHIP 6 A two-building shopping center at 6720 Chimney Rock Road and 5504 Bellaire Blvd. has new ownership, according to an April 27 announcement by NewQuest properties. The shopping center, which is 99% leased, was under contract before the COVID-19 outbreak. Tenants include The Mays School, Green Vegetarian Cuisine and BH Locksmith. IN THE NEWS 7 Lou Savarese, the founder of Fight Fit West University , located at 4215 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, will be one of 28 people inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame this September. His career began in 1989, and he saw 46 wins and seven losses, with ghts against ve world champions, including George Foreman and Mike Tyson. He also won two New York Golden Gloves Champi- onships, the 1985 Super-Heavyweight Novice Championship and the 1986 Super-Heavyweight Open Championship. Savarese’s gym incorporates functional tness and resistance training, and he is one of the few gym owners certied to train clients with Parkinson’s disease through the Rock Steady Boxing program. 713-389-5557. www.savareseghtt.com

REOPENINGS 1 Samurai Japanese Steak & Sushi , 5317 Bissonnet St., Bellaire, reopened April 21 to oer curbside, takeout and delivery service. 713-432-1858. www.samuraisteakandsushi.net 2 Moeller’s Bakery , 4201 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, reopened April 30 and is accepting online and call-in orders for curbside service. The bakery, which is celebrating 90 years in business this year, closed temporarily March 22. 713-667-0983. www.moellersbakery.com SHOPS OFFERING CURBSIDE 3 Rice Management Co. retailers oering curbside service in Rice Village include Banana Republic, Beautique, Gap, Kendra Scott, Lily Rain, Mecox, Naked Natural, Soma and Tasc Performance. www.ricevillage.com COMING SOON 4 Logan, Utah-based Crumbl Cookies will be coming to Bellaire, though the cookie maker has not yet specied when it would open its Bellaire Town Center shop at 5103 Bellaire Blvd. Crumbl Cook- ies has locations across the United States and is known for its weekly rotating menu in which the cookie maker oers customers four dierent specialty avors, along with permanent menu xtures milk chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookies. It also sells ice cream avors including vanilla, raspberry cheesecake, churro and more. Curbside, delivery and shipping services are available at its other loca- tions. www.crumblcookies.com

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Mother’s Day Sunday, May 10th

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN AND HUNTER MARROW

Pitching in

FUNDING THE NEED

“OUR FOCUS IS ON FOODACCESS AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCETHE

United Way and the Greater Houston Community Foundation had raised over $8.7 million toward the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund as of April 21. On April 15, the fund began distributing $1.5 million to 30 front- line organizations that are meeting the biggest needs, including the Christian Community Service Center, based in the River Oaks area. As of April 22, the United Way of Greater Houston’s 211 help line had received more than 50,000 calls for assistance since March 1 related to the coronavi- rus. www.unitedwayhouston.org

BUSINESSES, NONPROFITS AND RESIDENTS DOING THEIR PART

CRITICAL ANDURGENT NEEDSWE’RE SEEING ACROSS THE AREA.” STEPHEN D. MAISLIN, THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE GREATER HOUSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

What are you doing to help others during this time? Share your story to bmwnews@communityimpact.com.

Bellaire families pitched in to create 500 face shields that have gone to local health care workers. (Courtesy Hannah Nates)

PROTECTING FIRST RESPONDERS

Bellaire resident Lesley Robbins orga- nized 45 local families to help assemble 500 face shields for medical workers in early April. Face shields are being used by health care workers used to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth. “People like myself, want to help in some way, and there’s not a whole lot we could do,” Robbins said. “This is a way to give back to the rst responders, since they don’t

have what they need to protect them- selves.” Bentley Custom Homes, a local business, purchased and donated all of the supplies to create over 45 kits, com- plete with all of the supplies and tools needed to make the shields. “This was a community eort,” Robbins said. “This was everybody coming together.” Eorts were underway to produce another 500 face shields as of April 20.

Bellaire-based nonprot Second Servings has partnered with Hess Corp. and Sysco to provide take-home, chef-prepared family meals to furloughed and unemployed hospitality workers in Houston. (Courtesy Second Servings)

HELPING TO FEEDA CITY The Bellaire nonprot Second Servings partnered with Hess Corp. and Sysco to provide 10,000 take-home, chef-pre- pared family meals to furloughed and unemployed hospitality workers in Houston in a program called Dinner’s On Us that launched April 9. The nonprot is distributing the meals as part of its

mission, which focuses on redistributing excess prepared and perishable food from hotels, caterers and other venues to charitable meal sites. The program later expanded to serve hospitality workers in Galveston and then to any Houston resident. www.secondservingshouston.org

DELIVERING RELIEF TOHOSPITALS

Rice Management Co. launched a meal donation campaign in partnership with its Rice Village restaurants April 16 aimed at feeding front-line health care workers at the Texas Medical Center as they help combat COVID-19. The FARE for CARE campaign had an initial phase spanning 14 days. Rice Manage- ment Co. donated $50,000 toward a minimum of 5,000 meals and matched

Eric and Shanna Bass donated $1 million to the nonprot Comp-U-Dopt , allow- ing it to provide another 5,000 youths with free computers, the organization announced April 17. Since March 18, the organization had distributed about 1,300 devices to help equip students around the Houston area who needed to gain ac- cess to new online school resources. The organization had to use a lottery system to fairly distribute devices. www.comp-u-dopt.org EQUIPPING STUDENTS donations for at least another 5,000 meals with the potential for further expansion. The meals went to emer- gency room and critical care teams at St. Luke’s Health, Houston Methodist Hospital and Memorial Hermann— Texas Medical Center. Participating restaurants included Politan Row, Mendocino Farms, Sixty Vines and Sweetgreen. www.ricevillage.com

SUPPORTING A FRIEND GIVING SPIRITS NEWLIFE

Meyerland resident David Atkins , after hearing that his friend Justin Turner’s restaurant Bernie’s Burger Bus was strug- gling, purchased thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards from the restaurant but then took it a step further. On at least four occasions in late April, Atkins delivered about 500 free meals to neigh- bors and other residents in the Bellaire, Meyerland and West University area. “We had an amazing response,” Atkins said. As Atkins looks forward, he said he wants the idea of “paying forward” to stick. “I hope to create an infectious atmosphere with people with means, so that they’ll feel inspired to pay it forward them- selves,” he said.

Grateful Dane Distilling Co. , a Bel- laire-area craft rum distiller, recongured its whole operation to produce hand sanitizer and is supplying to medical facilities and rst responders. “I’m not going to be able to single-handedly x the hand sanitizer drought, but I’m going to do what I can to help,” said Ian Mook, owner and manager of Grateful Dane, founded in 2015 as the rst craft rum distiller in Houston. The business has re- ceived requests for thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer from local hospitals, law enforcement agencies and other organizations, and Mook said he is racing to keep pace with the demand. www.gratefuldanedistilling.com

Eric and Shanna Bass with their children.

COURTESY COMPUDOPT

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

IT’S NOT OVER YET. Stay strong, Houston. It’s working.

Social distancing, frequent handwashing and avoiding exposure is slowing the spread of COVID-19. But we can’t let up now. Hang in there—for your family, for your neighbors and for our heroes on the front lines. No one wants to celebrate with hugs and high-fives more than we do. Until then, thanks for doing your part to keep us all safer. We’re all in this TOGETHER.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Loop610/I69 interchangeworkmoves ahead

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN AND HUNTER MARROW

PROJECT UPDATES

With lanes cleared of almost all trac, work is progressing on the Loop 610/I-69 interchange project. “We are making great progress and taking every opportunity to acceler- ate work where we can,” said Danny Perez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation. “Our goal has always been to complete this project as quickly as possible while also minimizing impacts to the traveling public.” The project marked a milestone April 19 with the opening of the new I-69 northbound ramp to Loop

610 southbound, which has its own Fournace Place exit ramp, allowing trips from Southwest Houston into Bellaire without having to get on the Loop itself, Perez said. The $259 million, yearslong project is showing more visible signs of prog- ress, with more to come this spring and summer. Project goals include expanding the capacity of highway connector ramps in all directions from one lane to two, improving sight lines and distances, and reducing trac weaving that occurs at ramps. Final completion is slated for 2024.

West University Place City Council approved new intersection enhancements for Bualo Speedway. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper) 59

Sunset, Fannin and Main intersection The Sunset/Main/Fannin Safe Streets project is expected to wrap up later this spring. The contractor has nished un- derground utility work, reconstruction of concrete curbs and landscaping. The contractor is installing signal heads and related wiring connections. The next phase includes signal testing, installa- tion of the vehicle detection system, pavement markings and signage. Two bicycling fatalities at the intersection in 2017 and 2018 prompted the redesign. Timeline: summer 2019-spring 2020 Bualo Speedway reconstruction West University Place City Council has approved gear-shaped bases for street light poles that will be enhancements to the project—a $260,000 cost by the city in three locations along the project corridor. The project design was about 95% complete as of mid-April. After ad- ditional consultation and collaboration, city-hired engineering rms will send the design back to the department of transportation in late May, with a nal design completed sometime in June. The city will go out to bid between June and November. Actual construction is estimated to start in January 2021.

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COMING SOON: 1 The old I-69 north to Loop 610 South ramp will be demolished in the coming weeks, making way for new work. 2 Sometime in May, the Loop 610 South exit to Fournace Place and the 3 Hidalgo Street/ Westheimer Road southbound entrance ramp onto Loop 610 South are expected to open. 4 Also in May, the Fournace Place ramp to Loop 610 South will close. 5 By late summer, the I-69 north frontage road from Loop 610 to Newcastle Drive is expected to be complete. 6 After that, major work will proceed on the Loop 610 South to I-69 north ramp as well as the Loop 610 North to I-69 South ramp, which will involve intermittent main lane closures of both freeways.

UNIVERSITY BLVD.

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Timeline: October 2018-2023 Cost: $32.56 million Funding sources: city of West University Place, TxDOT, federal grants

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Cost: $900,000 Funding sources: city of Houston, Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF APRIL 23. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BMWNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

BUSINESS

Uncertain outlook

Business owners face uncertain future as Houston economy gradually reopens

A survey of Greater Houston-area small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, conducted in early and mid-April, found almost a third have worsened their outlook in recent weeks. Among the survey’s ndings: Greater Houston area small businesses

53.6%

BY EMMA WHALEN

we need to give everyone the right to be tested,” he said at a city press conference April 20. “I am challenging other CEOs to do the same.” Recouping losses To cover lost revenue, business owners have been able to apply to Small Business Association relief programs through two key programs: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program. A second round of funding, $310 billion, became available for the PPP on April 27, after the original $349 billion programwas exhausted in less than two weeks. According to the SBA and the U.S. Treasury, the rst round of the program processed 14 years’ worth of typical loan applications in less than 14 days. Chris Lyda, with accounting rm Lyda & Associ- ates, P.C., in Bellaire, assisted some area businesses with the application process for the PPP with limited success. “There were two clients that got approved, and one of them just barely made the cuto,” Lyda said. One of his clients received money within a week of applying in the rst round of applications that opened April 3. One group Lyda expressed concern over was the independent contractors and self-em- ployed individuals who were only allowed to apply for the program beginning April 10. “It’s turned out to be a confusing process for most people, like the application process, but also on how much can be forgiven,” he said. Other state and local relief eorts were also inun- dated with applications in April. Texas announced a $50 million relief fund for small businesses, and Harris County set up its own $10 million program April 6. Within a week, both programs received more applications than the funding available to them could fulll. In some cases, the private sector has stepped in to ll the gaps, such as the Save Small Business Fund set up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses in ZIP

41% 47.1%

The state’s order to allowmore retail and restau- rant operations to resume signaled a potential path to normalcy, but how soon Houstonians will feel safe to congregate in enclosed spaces remains unclear as local leaders continue to push for increased testing capabilities. “We all know this isn’t going to go smoothly,” Houston’s Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. David Persse said April 20 about any eorts to reopen the economy. “We expect there to be some spikes, but what we don’t want to do is overwhelm the health care system.” As of April 30, all retailers and restaurants in Texas were permitted to open at 25% capacity. Those that require close contact or shared equipment such as barber shops, salons, gyms and bars were exempt from the rst two weeks of openings. City and county leaders appointed advisers in mid-April to draft phase-in plans for various sectors of the economy. However, Gov. Greg Abbott has said his directives supersede all local orders. Mayor Sylvester Turner said he hoped the gradual plan would prevent a surge of new infections, but he had concerns workers were being put at too high of a risk. “They aren’t asking when we’re going to open up. They’re asking, ‘Mayor, how are you going to keep us Abbott’s business strike force, tasked with forming statewide reopening plans, is made up of prominent business leaders including Houston’s own Jim “Mat- tress Mack” McIngvale. The strike force is chaired by Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state’s health commissioner. Hellerstedt and a team of three medical advisers are tasked with planning the state’s testing and contact tracing eorts. Abbott’s plan includes deployment of additional contact tracers and mobile testing sites throughout May. At two-week intervals, test data is reviewed to determine whether the next phase of openings may begin or if more restrictions need to be put in place, Abbott told reporters April 27. “It’s a fact: It’s hard to get rid of this virus because it is so contagious,” Abbott said at an April 27 press conference. “So we’re not just going to open up and hope for the best. Instead, we will put measures in place that will help businesses open while also containing the virus and keeping Texans safe.” While awaiting recommendations from state and local levels, some business owners started taking increased testing into their own hands. Taser Badar, CEO of Houston-based private equity rm ZT Corpo- rate, said he bought a supply of test kits to provide for all 1,200 of his employees for free. “Before we can require everyone to return to work, safe?’” he said. Draftingplans

24.6%

Shut down whole or partial operations

Operations severely aected

Hiring freeze

Revenue decline

Future outlook on small business

Also, when asked how long their business could survive based on projections and without government assistance, they said:

Don’t know

?

11.4%

6 weeks or less

3-6 months

6+ months

7-8 weeks

50.7%

10%

19.3%

8.6%

SOURCE: GREATER HOUSTON PARTNERSHIPCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

codes that were considered economically distressed before the outbreak. But within days of opening the fund April 20, the program closed, citing an “over-

whelming response.” Local interventions

Sallie Alcorn and Letitia Plummer, at-large Hous- ton City Council members who were vocal about the economic challenges the city was facing early on in the outbreak, said providing immediate monetary relief to businesses is nearly impossible under the city’s budget constraints. Despite that, Alcorn started looking to other cities to see which policies, such as grace periods for commercial rent, could be enacted by the council. Plummer pushed for the formation of a committee to study such policies, something Dallas City Council had done in March, but plans had not moved forward as of press time. She said she continues to reach out to business owners for insight. “We’re focusing on a disease right now, and I get that. There are a lot of people jumping into help,” Plummer said. “I want to focus on the fallout.” One option Turner has oated is nding a way to allocate federal disaster recovery money, typically reserved for commercial and residential structural damage, to business owners as a way to recoup losses sustained during the restrictions. As of press time, a formal agreement with the federal government had not been reached. Hunter Marrow contributed to this report.

Programs preferred by a national poll of small business owners: Small-business lifeline

Waiving SBA-nancing

requirement 20%

Temporary cancellation of

business payroll taxes 21%

30% Small-business access to disaster loans from the SBA 56%

Direct cash payments to every American

SOURCE: U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PHOTOS COURTESY ADOBE STOCK

Phasing back to normal

Requirementsprior to implementingPhase 1

PHASE 1 • Vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place. • Social settings of more than 10 people should be avoided unless social distancing is practical. • Minimize nonessential travel and work from home if possible. • Workplaces should implement special accommodations to protect vulnerable populations that must work on-site. • Schools, day cares and camps should remain closed. • Senior living facilities should be closed to visitors. • Larger venues—restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and places of worship—can begin to operate under strict physical distancing protocols. • Elective surgeries can resume in some facilities. • Gyms that implement strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols can reopen. • Bars should remain closed.

PHASE3 • Vulnerable populations can begin to have public interactions but should

PHASE2 • Social settings of more than 50 people should be avoided unless social distancing is practical. • Nonessential travel can resume, but working from home is still encouraged. • Schools, day cares and camps can reopen. • Larger venues can begin to operate under moderate physical distancing protocols. • Bars may begin to operate with reduced occupancy levels.

Testing/tracing: States must be able to provide screening and testing sites and implement contact- tracing strategies of positive COVID-19 cases. States must also have screening and tracing for asymptomatic cases. Hospital capacity: States must ensure its health care system has a supply of personal protective equipment and other critical equipment to handle surges, including intensive care unit bed capacity. Planning: States must protect the health and safety of critical industries, those in high-risk facilities such as senior care centers, and must protect mass- transit systems. States must be able to monitor conditions and immediately respond to changes in conditions should cases spike.

practice distancing and avoid social situations where that may not be practical. • Unrestricted stang at work sites may resume. • Visits to senior care facilities can resume. • Larger venues can operate under more limited distancing protocols. • Bars may begin to operate with increased occupancy levels.

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

The federal government’s phased reopening guidelines leaves broad discretion to governors and local governments to manage the gradual return to normalcy. The federal plan is based on states committing to implementing a series of required resources and reaching a checkpoint before implementing each new phase.

Conditions to begin each newphase With a 14-day period, the following conditions must be met before a new phase is triggered: Symptoms: A reduction of new inuenza-like illnesses and a reduction in COVID-19-like cases reported Cases: A slowing of documented cases or a reduction in the percentage of positive tests out of total tests, assuming a at or increasing volume of tests Hospitals: All patients can be treated without crisis care, and a testing program for at-risk workers must be in place

SOURCE: WHITE HOUSE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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11

BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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BEING STROKE AWARE MEANS BEING STROKE PREPARED

Seek the Highest Level of Care. When it comes to stroke care, speed and expertise matter. At Memorial Hermann Mischer Neurosciences, our dedicated stroke network has the experience and equipment to diagnose and treat strokes quickly and accurately, to help prevent long-term effects. The Joint Commission andDet Norske Veritas (DNVGL) certify hospitals that meet certain standards for care of acute stroke, designating themas Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSCs) and Primary Stroke Centers (PSCs). Both are advanced designations, but CSCs are themost advanced. Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-TexasMedical Center is a CSC, the first stroke program in the region tomeet such standards. In addition, nine Memorial Hermann hospitals are PSCs. Being Stroke Aware Shows You Care. Reducing your risk of stroke and knowing how to react to one are the best ways to show your loved ones you care. To learnmore about stroke, visit memorialhermann.org/stroke.

A stroke is a life-threatening emergency, and what you don’t know could hurt you or a loved one. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability. While a stroke can happen to anyone, at any time, there are ways you can reduce your risk of a stroke or minimize the effects of a A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain. There are two major types of stroke. The most common type, an ischemic stroke, occurs when an artery is blocked by a blood clot and may result from clogged arteries, called atherosclerosis. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain bursts open (a brain aneurysm), causing blood to leak into the brain. Reduce Your Risk for Stroke. While not every stroke can be prevented, you can reduce your risk. Don’t smoke. Maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise stroke, should one occur. First, what is a stroke?

regularly. And eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and whole grains. Your risk of having a stroke is greater if you have certain health conditions, including atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), heart disease, high blood pressure (the No. 1 risk for strokes), high cholesterol or if you have a BMI (bodymass index) of 30 or higher. If this describes you, see your doctor regularly and take all prescribed medications. By managing these underlying illnesses, you can reduce your chances of stroke. Know the Warning Signs. And BE FAST. A stroke requires immediate medical attention. If someone exhibits one or more of these symptoms, call 911 right away. By knowing and sharing the warning signs of stroke, you could save a life.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a neurologist, visit memorialhermann.org/stroke or call 713.704.7100.

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

News from Houston ISD

From Our Seniors to Yours...

District takes ‘compassionate’ grading approach amid outbreak

$13 MILLION estimated district investment in laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for students and sta as of April 27 9% of all households in Houston ISD lack broadband internet access 7,500 estimated number of laptops needed by students in HISD 9,000 hotspots distributed and 6,000 laptops distributed as of April 25 SOURCES: HOUSTON ISD, U.S. CENSUS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Houston ISD ocials have been distributing equipment to area families to help implement its new at-home learning program. HISD said it is seeking out more partners to help close the gap by providing additional equipment. Closing thedigital divide

BY MATT DULIN

expand the digital divide, Brower said. HISD has prioritized making contact with every student to assess needs and to ensure they are in communication with teachers. “This was about making sure our families and teachers were OK and getting technology into hands that needed it,” interim Chief Academic Ocer Yolanda Rodríguez said. “WE’RE NOT HAVING ONLINE EDUCATIONAT THEMOMENTIT’SMORE LIKE CRISIS TEACHING. IT’S REALLYDIFFICULT.” SAMUEL BROWER, RESEARCHER AND PROFESSOR AT THE UH COLLEGE OF EDUCATION Rodríguez said the district had also distributed thousands of Wi-Fi hot spots. “We distributed as many as we could, and I know that many families, even if they had internet before, now they’ve lost their job or their income, they’re cutting that. They can’t pay the bill,” she said. The district said it had reached about 91% of its students by April 9, meaning sta has established two-way communication with over 186,000 students, including 92% of the district’s 17,000 special education students, about 90% of its 63,000 English-language learners, and about 84% of its 6,300 homeless students. Once connected with HISD@ Home, the district’s remote learning initiative, student experiences can vary widely depending on the school and the teacher. “You have some teachers who are very tech savvy, and so they are taking things online and holding class almost as normal,” Brower said. “But it’s very dicult for others; they are struggling to put things online, and so they’re relying more on worksheets.” Some families, meanwhile, have formed support networks to share advice, such as the HISD@Home Survival Group on Facebook. “Initially there seemed to be a lot of dierent instructions from

HOUSTON ISD With the transition to a home-based learning strategy, Houston ISD ocials have adopted a grading policy in which no student will be penalized for school work after March 12 but left decisions on specic class grading practices to the schools themselves. The grading policy distributed April 9 has three key provisions: No district grades taken after March 12 can negatively aect a student’s overall average for the course; if a student’s grade in the nal grading cycle negatively aects their overall nal grade in a course, that nal cycle grade will be omitted in the calculation of the nal grade for the course; and individual schools have discretion for class assignments and grading, but they have been asked to be understanding of the burdens and limitations that COVID-19 has placed on students and families. “This is a dicult time for our community. ... We do not want to add any undue pressure,” interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told the board of trustees April 9. “We do as a district, though, have to provide opportunities for our students to learn through an online platform or through paper-based instruction ... and we must document those eorts.” While some parents questioned whether students would be moti- vated to do any work if there is no harm to their grades, one local education researcher said the best approach right now is “to be as compassionate as we possibly can.” “We can’t accurately and fairly measure performance right now. Sure, if this keeps going into the fall, you can prepare for that and put some systems in place, but right now we can’t get a good gauge,” said Samuel Brower, a researcher and pro- fessor at the UH College of Education who helps lead teacher certication training. “We’re not having online education at the moment—it’s more like crisis teaching. It’s really dicult.” Another issue is the transition to online learning has the potential to

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schools, as well as individual teach- ers,” said Meg McDonald, who formed the group and cares for her nephew in Lamar High School. “That appears to have died down, as HISD determined best practices for consistency and fairness. These beginning days and weeks are a time of learning and adjustment for HISD, administrators, teachers, parents and students.” The district has also established a hotline, 713-556-4636, for questions about the at-home learning process.

13

BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

CITY& COUNTY

News from Houston, Harris County & Bellaire

CORONAVIRUS INVESTMENTS

Bellaire citymanager proposes restructuring city

Houston City Council Watch online at houstontx.swagit.com/live Next meetings: May 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 9 a.m. Harris County Commissioners Court Watch online at harriscountytx.gov Next meetings: May 12 and 26 at 10 a.m. Bellaire City Council Watch online at bellairetx.gov Next meetings: May 18 and June 1 at 7 p.m. MEETINGSWE COVER April 22 Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order requiring residents to wear masks in public through May 26. Gov. Greg Abbott said the order could not be enforced with a fine. April 22 Houston announced a pledge to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050. April 23 A public awareness campaign dedicated to helping Houston residents facing domestic violence was established. Sign up to receive these and other news items in our daily newsletter at www.communityimpact.com/ newsletter. Houston City Council and Harris County have approved millions of dollars’ worth of spending on coronavirus prevention and response measures. Most of the expenses are reimbursable with federal funding. Below are some of the most significant expenditures to date. HOUSTON $4million for personal protective equipment and face masks for first responders $360,000 for hotel room quarantine sites $64,000 for hand sanitizer HARRIS COUNTY $17million for emergency medical shelter at NRG stadium, out of $60 million authorized April 11 HIGHLIGHTS April 21 Houston launched a partnership with the Houston Food Bank items to deliver food to people with disabilities. Requests can be filed at www.houstontx.gov or by calling 832-394-0814.

BY HUNTER MARROW

Federal judge denies release of up to 4,000 inmates 2020-21 reorganization plan, should it be implemented wholly as presented, would not be effective until FY 2020- 21 begins Oct. 1. Hoffman asked for council’s feedback on the plan. The city of Bellaire is in the process of developing the second-quarter financial report for fiscal year 2019-20 and will include a worst-case sce- nario of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the current fiscal year’s budgeted expenses and revenue, which was slated to be presented to council May 4. Meanwhile, the city manager’s FY

have on city finances. “The pandemic’s impact on general fund revenues could be significant,” City Manager Paul Hoffman wrote in his report to the council. “We can reasonably anticipate that most Bellaire businesses will rebound once the current restrictions are lifted, and that impacts on sales tax revenues are short-lived. However, and as many council members said on April 6th, the longer-term impact of the pandemic, and lowered oil prices, may be to reduce permitting activity, the property tax collection rate and property values.”

BELLAIRE Citing an “uncertain fiscal future,” Bellaire’s city manager proposed combining the public works and development services depart- ments and reorganizing functions between the finance and human resources departments, moves he said could save $250,000 annually. The city manager unveiled the plan during City Council’s April 20 meeting, held via teleconference, and came as a result of a previous discussion from the council on April 6 based on the COVID-19 pandemic and the trickle-down effect it could to

Houston becomes secondU.S. city to adopt anti-human trafficking requirement for hotels

BY EMMA WHALEN

The program will cost the city $40,611 upfront and $12,750 annually to pay for a portion of the salary for a Houston Administration for Regu- latory Affairs employee tasked with enforcement. Under the ordinance, operators will be fined $100 for failing to train employees, failing to hang signage about trafficking and ways to report it, and failure to turn over training records to the city within 72 hours of a request. Second offenses would carry a $500 fine, and, in certain cir- cumstances, citations can be reissued daily, according to the ordinance. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who report tips. Justin Bragel, general counsel for the Texas Hospitality and Lodging Association, said the association is in support of the ordinance and its ability to enforce the same standards across hotel and motel operators in Houston. “This will be broader and hopefully wider in terms of the hotels that will come into the scope of the ordi- nance,” Bragel said. 277,000 total advertisements for illegal commercial sex were identified in Houston between May 1, 2019, and Feb. 13, 2020. NUMBER TOKNOW

HOUSTON Hotel and motel oper- ators within the city of Houston are now required to train all employees how to spot and report signs of human trafficking. Houston City Council authorized the new ordi- nance April 15. After over four years of nego- tiations between hotel operator representatives, the city received their support, including the Small Independent Motel Owners Asso- ciation and the local branch of the American Hospitality and Lodging Association. Although negotiating with these organizations slowed the process, the mayor’s special adviser for human trafficking, Minal Patel Davis, said it helped the city gain insight into operations and secure votes from City Council members. While some hotels already offer this training, by setting minimum standards, including ensuring trainings are not skipped, and creating fines for noncompliance, the ordinance allows the city to better track training throughout the city, Patel Davis said. “[Administration and Regulatory Affairs] is saying this is a good train- ing, this is a good sign, this is a good number to call, and this is the right way to record this. That third-party check is extremely important,” Patel Davis said.

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

HARRIS COUNTY As the number of positive coronavirus cases among both Harris County Jail inmates and employees continues to climb, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal rejected a petition April 14 for the emergency release of up to 4,000 inmates. In her ruling, Rosenthal wrote it would be risky for a federal district court to “wade into policy and political disagreements among state and county elected officials.” She also argued the plaintiffs failed to prove the emergency release would be in the public interest. The motion—filed by plaintiffs in Russell v. Harris County, a lawsuit regarding felony bail practices— asked for a 14-day emergency order from Rosenthal in light of the coronavirus that would require Harris County not to enforce pretrial detention orders for felony detainees who were being held because they could not afford bail. The decision came after a month of legal battles over the county’s authority to release inmates. As of April 15, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported 85 jail employees and 68 inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus.

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

INSIDE INFORMATION

Learn how to make a mask from household items

COMPILED BY DANICA SMITHWICK

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines in early April regarding the use of face coverings and masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Harris County is asking all residents to wear face coverings, such as masks, scarves or bandanas, in public until May 26. Ocials recommended individuals wear cloth face coverings when in public even when they are not exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. Facing the facts

DO

DON'T

WHY SHOULD I WEAR A MASK? Many coronavirus cases lack symptoms or develop symptoms later on in the diagnosis, so individuals might not know they have or are transmitting the disease. The virus can spread during interactions such as speaking, coughing or sneezing.

• Cover your mouth and nose in public even if you are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or interacting with someone who is experiencing symptoms. • Wash masks in hot water before the rst use and between uses. • Wear a mask when in public places such as grocery stores, at medical appointments and accessing other essential services. • Replace masks when they get damp.

• Use surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these critical supplies should be reserved for health care professionals. • Ignore calls for social distancing of 6 feet between persons. • Forget to wash hands frequently as well as before putting on a mask. • Reuse single-use masks.

HOW TO MAKE A MASK AT HOME Cloth face coverings can be crafted from household items such as fabric, scarves, bandanas, hand towels, T-shirts and rubber bands or hair ties.

STEP 4: Fold fabric to the middle from both sides and tuck the sides in.

STEP 5: Attach each rubber band to either ear, ensuring the mouth and nose are completely covered.

STEP 3: Place a rubber band on each side of the fabric.

STEP 2: Fold fabric to the middle from the top and bottom.

STEP 1: Fold fabric to the middle from the bottom.

CORRECT

6 inches apart

NOT CORRECT

SOURCES: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, HARRIS COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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