As the local community continues to respond to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus this week, local governmental entities have enforced restrictions and warned against public interaction. Entertainment and social gathering events have been cancelled and in many cases, prohibited.
But some organizations are seeking to gather the public online to share resources, raise awareness, enhance learning, provide activities for restless schoolchildren and try to continue business as usual in the online world.
And some aid and assistance organizations and local school districts remain focused on providing a safety net to those in need.
Relay for Life
Cy-Fair supporters of the American Cancer Society are planning a virtual event for this year’s Relay for Life event, which traditionally is held in an overnight format in a big parking lot somewhere.
But this year, the event will span the course of the weekend of April 17 to April 19, and participants will log their walking miles individually from their own neighborhoods and work with donors who pledge support for each mile they walk — all while maintaining safe social distancing.
Learn more at www.facebook.com/RelayForLifeCyFair.
All Lone Star College facilities including campuses in Tomball and CyFair remain closed. Many classes may be moved online and college faculty and staff will communicate with students by April 10 about the location and method for the rest of the semester’s class meetings.
But the college district — which has locations in Tomball, Montgomery, Kingwood, CyFair and Northwest Houston — isn’t letting its closed campuses get in the way of its April 7 Open House event, which will be online only starting at 4 p.m.
The streaming video event will discuss academic degrees, workforce options, continuing education, bachelors programs, veteran services and how to pay for it all among other topics.
Learn more at www.lonestar.edu/openhouse.
Local School Districts
All local school districts continue to be closed while offering online learning platforms for parents and students.
In Klein ISD , parents are encouraged to reach out to teachers if they have questions about the district’s new at-home learning system it launched this week.
The district is also providing counseling and mental health resources for students and families.
Klein ISD’s free curbside meal pickup program also continues each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or until all meals are distributed. Children must be present to receive meals at six locations across the district. Learn more at www.kleinisd.net.
The Learning at Home program website for Cypress Fairbanks ISD includes links for accommodation supports for students as well as links to online classroom environments.
The district is continuing its daily curbside meal program at several local schools and student IDs are not required. Guidance and counseling is also available. Learn more at www.cfisd.net.
Students in Tomball ISD are also learning remotely and teachers are communicating office hours to parents when they are available to freely answer questions from students and parents about assignments.
The district is also continuing its free curbside meal service for all district students two days each week at Tomball High School. Caregivers must provide the student’s ID at pickup. Learn more at www.tomballisd.net.
In addition to continuing curbside breakfast and lunch for children 18 years old and younger at select school sites, Spring ISD introduced free evening curbside meals this week for pickup from 5-7 p.m. at Claughton Middle School and Smith Elementary School. Children must be present during pickup. The district also launched the Empowered Learning At-Home website.
This week, families in Magnolia ISD were able to checkout Chromebooks from the district if needed to help facilitate the district’s distance learning initiative. Free meals were also provided daily at elementary schools. Learn more at www.magnoliaisd.org.
Initially, the Harris County Public Library canceled its library programs and events and buildings, but made curbside pickup available for items on hold. But that ended this week as Harris County issued its Stay Home, Work Safe order.
Now all buildings remain closed and bookdrops are locked as late fees will be waived during the crisis. All Harris County Library activities that continue are doing so online, and librarians and staff of the library system are reading books and leading crafting activities via live broadcasts on YouTube and Facebook.
The library system also has a lot of online resources like books, movies and audiobooks available for perusal on partner sites like OverDrive, Kanopy and TumbleBooks. Learn more at www.hcpl.net.
All locations of the Montgomery County Public Library System remain closed until further notice. But similar to Harris County, the library still offers access to several books, audiobooks, magazines and online databases through its website with a member library card. Due dates will be extended and the book drops will be closed. Learn more at www.countylibrary.org.
Chambers of Commerce
The Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Tomball Economic Development Corporation to create a website that compiles resources for the community during the outbreak.
Titled “Tomball Together (But 6 Feet Apart!),” the website contains links of resources for small businesses, links to governmental agencies’ pages with updates about the spread, an overview of technology that helps foster remote working, a list of restaurants that are chamber members that are open for business serving with takeout and delivery options and educational resources, too. Learn more at www.tomballtogether.com.
The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce has also compiled a page of resources for its service area. Resources include links for Small Business Administration disaster loans, the Houston Office of Business Opportunity and a list of chamber member restaurants that are still open. Learn more at https://www.houstonnwchamber.org/coronavirus-resources/.
The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce is using its Facebook page to share local information about services and businesses that remain open to help the community. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/CyFairChamber.
The Spring-Klein Chamber of Commerce launched a dedicated COVID-19 Updates page with resources and regular updates for businesses and the community. The chamber created an online COVID-19 Impact & Ideas Survey and asks businesses to fill out the survey which is accessible through the chamber website. Learn more at www.springkleinchamber.org/covid-19-updates.
Nonprofit Assistance Agencies
TOMAGWA HealthCare Ministries will continue to provide telehealth services to patients. The nonprofit organization provides healthcare to community members with limited resources by offering medical, dental, vision, lab, pharmacy and case management services. Learn more at www.tomagwa.org.
Northwest Assistance Ministries continues to accept donations of food and money for its local assistance programs. Its food pantry donation hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every business day. Last week on its Facebook page, the organization reported that it is now feeding 75 families a day — a 50 percent increase in its normal number of clients. Learn more at www.namonline.com/donate.
In Magnolia, the Society of Samaritans Feed My Sheep Food Pantry remains open, though they are helping in a different way these days. They now serve the community from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every business day and ask that guests remain in their car when arriving at the community center, and then call volunteers at 281-259-8452.
A volunteer will take your information and assist you in filling out a form and will call you back when your groceries are ready. Learn more at www.societyofsamaritanstx.org/.
Entertainment roundup is a weekly feature compiled by freelance writer Brandon Moeller. Send entertainment submissions to Brandon at [email protected]
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