UT Austin students wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at DKR Stadium before the Sept. 12 football game against UT-El Paso.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin Public Health Official Says Governor Relaxed Capacity Rules Too Soon

Austin Public Health’s interim health authority says he would’ve rather waited a few more weeks before easing capacity restrictions for businesses in the area.

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Valerie Merriam-DeBill helps register people to vote outside the Palmer Events Center on Aug. 12.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

PHOTOS: Life In Austin During The Coronavirus Pandemic

KUT's photographers are documenting the changes to daily life that a pandemic has brought to the Austin area — from a safe distance.

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Texas Halts Use Of California Lab For COVID-19 Testing

43 minutes ago
Michael Minasi / KUT

From Texas Standard:

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, who gets tested and how those tests are analyzed have been a focus of concern. 

This week, The Dallas Morning News reported Texas has been using NovaDX, a California laboratory, for COVID-19 testing. For months, it’s been criticized by federal regulators.

Students draw self-portraits in a kindergarten class on the first day of in-person classes at Highland Village Elementary.
Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

More than 2,300 of Texas public school students who have returned to school in person since the beginning of this academic year — about 0.21% — have reported testing positive for COVID-19, according to a dashboard the state released Thursday in a first effort to publicly track the way the pandemic is impacting public schools.

Joeller Stanton used to be an assistant teacher at a private school in Baltimore and made about $30,000 a year. In mid-March, when the pandemic was just starting, her school closed for what was supposed to be two weeks. "Up to that point, we were under the impression that it wasn't that serious, that everything was going to be OK," Stanton recalls.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin's music venues were among the first businesses to close because of COVID-19, and because their business model relies on mass gatherings, they'll likely be the last to reopen.

The Leander Independent School District's administrative building.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Leander ISD officials publicly denounced the actions of students caught on video over the summer removing Black Lives Matter yard signs and yelling a racist remark.

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees seal
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

AISD for All, a group of parents and community members advocating for equity in the school district, is hosting a series of forums with candidates for the four open school board positions that will be on the ballot in November.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The clock is ticking on the 2020 census count. With just 14 days left, census workers have to try to get a complete count of every person living in the United States – a huge endeavor that takes place every 10 years.

But participation in the census is not consistent across Texas. And there are long-term consequences of an inaccurate count – from less federal money for needed programs to fewer Texas representatives in Congress.

When 28-year-old Katie Kinsey moved from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles in early March, she didn't expect the pandemic would affect her directly, at least not right away. But that's exactly what happened.

She was still settling in and didn't have a primary care doctor when she got sick with symptoms of what she feared was COVID-19.

Customers line up to enter Jeni's Ice Creams on South Congress.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Retail stores, restaurants, gyms, office buildings, museums and libraries in regions where COVID-19 hospitalizations are under control can open at 75% capacity starting Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Thursday. Hospitals in these areas can resume elective surgeries immediately, he said.

Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET

A spokesperson for Joint Forces Headquarters Command in Washington, D.C., confirmed to NPR that hours before federal police officers cleared a crowded park near the White House with smoke and tear gas on June 1, a military police staff officer asked if the D.C. National Guard had a kind of "heat ray" weapon that might be deployed against demonstrators in the nation's capital.

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