Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Announce Schools Will Delay In-Person Classes Until Sept. 8

Jul 28, 2020
HOUSTON – To protect students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic and help blunt progression of the virus in our communities, all public and non-religious private schools must delay in-person classes until Sept. 8, Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Friday.

The City of Houston’s Local Health Authority Dr. David Persse and Harris County’s Health Authority Dr. Umair Shah signed the joint public health order. A copy of the full order is available here.

“We do not want our kids to fall behind, but we must do what we can to keep them, our teachers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, school support staff, and safer,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We can help save lives by further delaying the opening of our schools. COVID-19 positivity rates are at an all-time high. It is very difficult to see these numbers on the rise and talk about returning our children to school.”

“Sending students, teachers and staff into classrooms while this virus is still spreading uncontrollably is not only unsafe for the people in the schools, it’s dangerous for their families, friends and the entire community,” said Dr. David Persse, City of Houston Local Health Authority.“In order for students to be able to learn and grow, they must also be healthy and safe,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Right now, we continue to see a severe and uncontrolled spread of this virus and it would be self-defeating to reopen schools as usual for in-person instruction. We are all desperate to move on from this crisis and get life back to normal. September 8 is still likely too soon, but the truth is, the fastest way we can all work together to bring this virus under control, the sooner we will be in a position to reopen again for the long term.”In addition to the suspension of in person instruction, the order includes the following:Virtual instruction is allowed consistent with individual district or school academic plans.  Instructors may use classrooms for video streaming if they are alone in the classroom and building occupancy does not exceed 10%. All school sponsored events and activities, including but not limited to clubs, sports, extra-curricular activities, fairs, exhibitions, academic and/or athletic competitions, must not take place in-person, on or off campus, until school systems resume on-campus instruction. By no later than Friday, August 21, 2020, each School System shall develop and submit a written plan with safety and health protocols for resuming in-person instruction and extracurricular activities to the Local Health Authority with jurisdiction over the school. School systems must make the plan available to parents and the general public. 
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City of Houston Continues to Monitor Tropical Storm Hanna; City Holds Exercise to Test COVID-19 Procedures

Jul 28, 2020
HOUSTON – As the City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) monitors any potential impacts from Tropical Storm Hanna, staff continue to update and test disaster response plans. 

In June and July, OEM staff partnered with the Houston Health Department, Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, BARC, and external partners including the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross to conduct the annual Evacuation Hub Exercise. Goals of the exercise include testing emergency operations coordination, critical transportation, mass care services, and health and social services during a hurricane evacuation.

“We have been advising the public that hurricane planning may be different this year because of COVID-19. The city has also been doing its part to update our emergency plans,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “An exercise like this helps our city test these updates and better prepares us to respond in the event a real disaster strikes.”
The Evacuation Hub Exercise is held annually at the George R. Brown Convention Center and allows participating agencies to test plans and procedures related to the registration and tracking process for evacuating people and animals to locations outside of Houston. In previous years, city staff partnered with volunteers to test components of the Evacuation Hub. This year, staff worked with Houston Television (HTV) to film segments of the exercise and later held a virtual tabletop discussion to evaluate and provide feedback on the new procedures due to COVID-19. 

“This year’s exercise tested new screening processes for evacuees, including no-touch temperature checks, social distancing guidelines, cleaning procedures for the facility and equipment, and new quarantine and isolation procedures,” said Nickea Bradley, Emergency Management Coordinator for Houston OEM. “Tropical Storm Hanna’s development in the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder to the public that hurricane season is in full swing, and residents should update their plans, build their disaster kits, stay informed of official updates, and get to know their neighbors.” Objectives of the annual exercise include a full-scale test of the emergency tracking network (ETN), a technology used locally that interacts with the state in a web-based program to register and track evacuees. Other objectives focus on the steps necessary to determine, coordinate, and provide various needs post-hurricane for impacted populations to sustain mass care operations, such as clothing, medications, transportation, housing, and health care services. 

Hurricane Preparedness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The City’s emergency managers, shelter managers, and public health professionals are taking measures to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 among people who seek safety in a disaster shelter during severe weather events. Here are some tips to help you prepare and lower the risk of infection while staying safe in a shelter:If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person.Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people outside of your household.Follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Houston Health Department COVID-19 preventive actions—wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and follow shelter policies for wearing cloth face coverings. Avoid sharing food and drink with anyone if possible.Follow disaster shelter policies and procedures designed to protect everyone in the shelter, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.If you feel sick when you arrive at the shelter or start to feel sick while sheltering, tell shelter staff immediately.Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions for keeping children healthy.Be a good role model—if you wash your hands often, your children are more likely to do the same.Help your children stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is not in your household.Watch your child for any signs of illness and tell shelter staff if your child may be ill.Help children cope with emergencies: try to deal with the disaster calmly and confidently, as this can provide the best support for your children. Learn more about updating your hurricane preparedness plans to protect you and your family from COVID-19:
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 8900 South Braeswood Boulevard

Jul 24, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of a man at 8900 South Braeswood Boulevard about 7:50 p.m. on July 18.

The suspect, Jayson Darell King (b/m, 34), is charged with murder in the 184th State District Court for his role in the killing of Adam Valencia, 25.  A booking photo of King is attached to this news release.

HPD Homicide Division Officers R. Naughton and L. Patterson reported:

Mr. Valencia was shot while outside of a convenience store at the above address.  Paramedics transported him to an area hospital where he was pronounced deceased. 

At the time, there was no known suspect or motive in the shooting.

Further investigation identified King as the suspect in this case and he was arrested on Thursday (July 23) without incident.
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Stabbing at 5300 Coke Street

Jul 24, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the fatal stabbing of a man at 5300 Coke Street about 8 p.m. on Wednesday (July 22).

The suspect, Lloyd Dewayne Jackson (b/m, 52), is charged with murder in the 230th State District Court.  A booking photo of Jackson is attached to this news release.

The identity of the victim, 49, is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

HPD Homicide Division Detectives K. Collier, J. Stroble and R. Watson reported:

A witness stated the victim and Jackson got into a confrontation in an apartment at the above address that escalated when Jackson stabbed the victim several times and then fled the scene.  Jackson later returned and was taken into custody without incident.
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City of Houston Announces the 10th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest Presented by Shell. Registration is Open and Volunteers are Needed!

Jul 22, 2020
City of Houston Announces the 10th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest Presented by Shell. Registration is Open and Volunteers are Needed!
HOUSTON – It is time to register for supplies or to volunteer at the Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest presented by Shell. The City has partnered with the Houston Food Bank to distribute food, masks, backpacks, and school supplies for Houston-area elementary students and their families. 
Event Details
Friday and Saturday, August 7-8, 2020 
Time: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., both days or while supplies last 
Location: NRG, Yellow Parking Lot (8797 S. Main Street)
Pre-Registration:Pre-registration is recommended and will begin on Monday, July 20th for all elementary school students and their families in the surrounding Houston area. Please register here: Opportunities:Friday and Saturday, August 7-8 (2 shifts per day)Shift 1: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Shift 2: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.Please register here: must adhere to CDC guidelines. Masks and gloves will be provided.Volunteer Orientation will take place on Wednesday, August 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. via webinar.
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HFD Fire Capt. Leroy Lucio loses battle with COVID-19.

Jul 22, 2020
HOUSTON –  The following is Mayor Sylvester Turner’s statement on the death of Houston Fire Capt. 
Leroy Lucio who died from Covid-19 Monday night.

“I ask the City of Houston to join me in praying for Capt. Leroy Lucio’s family. His death leaves a void in the department and in the hearts of the men and women that he mentored and supervised during his 30 year career in the Houston Fire Department.

“We are grateful for his service to the city. May he Rest In Peace.” 
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Mayor Turner Discusses COVID-19 Impact on City Employees, Offers Condolences to Families of Two Employees Who Died

Jul 22, 2020
Mayor Turner Discusses COVID-19 Impact on City Employees, Offers Condolences to Families of Two Employees Who Died
Mayor Turner talks about the impact of COVID-19 on City of Houston employees.
HOUSTON –   Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner extended prayers and condolences to the families of two Houston Public Works employees who passed away last week due to COVID-19. Natarvia Robertson worked in Customer Account Services, and Michael Sanchez (pictured below) worked in Transportation & Drainage Operations.

Both individuals were essential employees reporting to work every day to support Houstonians. Her family and extended family will greatly miss Robertson. Sanchez was a husband, father, brother, and son. His family wants Houstonians to know that he had a passion for serving our City. “These two colleagues were essential employees reporting to work every day to support Houstonians and provide basic services that keep Houstonians safe during this pandemic.,” said Carol Haddock, PE, Houston Public Works Director. “We have adjusted how we do business because of the pandemic. However, for around 3,000 of our 4,000 employees, telecommuting is not an option. It’s just not possible to run a treatment plant from your home office, unclog a stormwater drain from your living room or repair a broken water main if you aren’t physically here.”The mayor also thanked all municipal employees and first responders who are working to protect Houston during the pandemic. The virus, which is spreading throughout the community, has taken a toll on the City’s overall workforce.Houston Municipal Employees (excluding HFD and HPD)286 positive casesHouston Police DepartmentOf 190 officers quarantined, 142 have tested positive for COVID-19, and 48 others are waiting for test results. Two hundred thirty other officers who tested positive for the virus have returned to work.Houston Fire Department 162 firefighters in quarantine38 have tested positive189 HFD firefighters have contracted the virus; 151 are back at workNo fire stations have been closed due to lack of staffing “This month, I am asking people to be very intentional and very focused about putting on a mask,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The goal for us is to slow the spread, flatten the curve, and reduce the number of people going to the hospital so that our health delivery system is not overwhelmed.
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Mayor Turner’s Statement on the Death of Rep. John Lewis. Flags on All City Buildings will be Lowered in Honor of Rep. Lewis.

Jul 22, 2020
Mayor Turner’s Statement on the Death of Rep. John Lewis.
Flags on All City Buildings will be Lowered in Honor of Rep. Lewis. 
HOUSTON –  The following is Mayor Sylvester Turner’s statement on the death of Civil Rights Icon, Rep. John Lewis.

“Today, flags will be lowered to half-staff at Houston City Hall and all City of Houston buildings to honor late Rep. John Lewis. He may have been elected by a single congressional district in Atlanta, Georgia, but his life of service impacted all of us. I thank Rep. Lewis for uplifting and inspiring a generation. 

“Rep. Lewis was a warrior in the fight for civil rights. He was an honorable man who exuded grace and dignity while he fought passionately for racial equality and justice for all. 

“From his days marching with Dr. King to the many times he was arrested and beaten for daring to protest segregation, Rep. Lewis never lost his faith, courage, or commitment to fight for freedom.

“During his service and leadership in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Lewis was a champion for uplifting people and advocated for affordable housing, fair pay, education, voting rights and so much more. 

“In 2019, I invited Rep. Lewis to be the Grand Marshal of the City – Black Heritage Society MLK Day Parade, and he honored Houston with his time and wisdom. He challenged us to be brave, to be bold, and never to give up.

“In the coming days, the lights of Houston City Hall, Montrose Bridges, and other buildings will be lit red, white, and blue in memory of Rep. Lewis, an American Hero. 

“May he rest in power.”
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The Houston Fire Department asks for Thoughts and Prayers as Captain Battles Covid-19

Jul 17, 2020
The Houston Fire Department asks for Thoughts and Prayers as Captain Battles Covid-19

HFD Captain Leroy Lucio

Houston Fire Department Captain Leroy Lucio, a 30-year veteran of the HFD, is currently in a San Antonio Hospital ICU with Covid-19. He is in critical but stable condition. 

The HFD’s Firefighter Support Network and members of the HFD Honor Guard are with him and his family. The SAFD have been supporting Captain Lucio and his family in his hometown of San Antonio, TX,  through this difficult time.

HFD appreciates the show of support that Captain Lucio and his family have already received and asks for continued thoughts and prayers as he battles Covid-19.
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 5500 De Soto Street

Jul 17, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of a man at 5500 De Soto Street about 4:30 p.m. on Monday (July 13).

The suspect, Jeremiah Autreas Hamilton (b/m, 17), is charged with murder in the 262nd State District Court.  A booking photo of Hamilton is attached to this news release.

The identity of the victim, 42, is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

HPD Homicide Division Officers P. Pak, C. Flora and M. Estep reported:

Officers were dispatched to a shooting call at the apartment complex at the above address and found the victim unresponsive in front of a building #31.  Paramedics pronounced the man deceased at the scene.  He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Witnesses reported that prior to the shooting, the victim had a disturbance and physical altercation with another male who lives on property.

Homicide investigators arrived and were able to develop Hamilton as the suspect in the shooting.  He initially fled the scene, but returned and surrendered.  Hamilton confessed to his role in the shooting and was subsequently charged.
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