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Texas teachers union launches school-level COVID tracking tool
(Pexels)

The Texas AFT union launched a campus-level COVID-19 tracking tool on Thursday as public schools work through their reopening plans.

The Texas American Federation of Teachers launched an online tracking tool on Thursday that allows teachers and others to report COVID-19 cases and unsafe working conditions on public school campuses.


The union—which represents more than 65,000 teachers, support personnel and other employees—developed the tool after learning that state officials planned to report only district-wide data.

"We're really unsure how the state is going to deliver their data," Texas AFT President Zeph Capo said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.

The Texas Education Agency and the Department of State Health Services issued a joint statement on Aug. 20, in which the agencies said they were finalizing a COVID-19 data tracking system for public schools based on district reports. They did not provide additional information.

The Texas AFT tracking tool aims to give teachers, parents and others a chance to report and search for campus-level COVID reporting.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the tracker is "first in class" work that arrives at a critical time. "We have to be the ones that make sure there is transparency," she said.

The tracker, which can be found at www.stopthespreadtx.school, allows users to share information about reported COVID cases, unsafe working conditions and personal accounts. It is not currently reporting any COVID cases in the Austin area.

The Texas AFT union created a tracking tool through which teachers, parents and others can report school-level COVID information.(Texas Public Schools COVID-19 Tracker)

Submissions are anonymous, but the tracker will link any reported cases to "evidence," such as a news story or an email from the school principal, that confirms the information. Users are encouraged to share these documents when making their submissions.

The union expects reports to be published on the tracking tool within around three hours of submission and will be able to unpublish or not publish reports about which its staff has concerns.

Education Austin, a union that represents Austin ISD teachers and staff, has advocated for virtual learning through at least November. The district began its school year on Tuesday, but students won't begin the transition back to in-person learning until Oct. 6, according to the current plan.

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway