Texas Standard for January 12, 2022

For the first time ever the American Red Cross declares a national blood crisis. We’ll look at what that is and what is needed from Texans. And: Masks, social distancing, vaccinations, booster shots – now pills have been added to the COVID-19 fighting arsenal, though many Texans may not have heard about this development or know who’s eligible. We’ll get some answers. Also: Texas’ Rice University among a group of prestigious private institutions of higher learning being sued over financial aid practices. Plus: A new push to compensate Texans unwittingly affected by nuclear testing dating back to the Cold War era. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJanuary 12, 2022 8:36 am,

Blood shortage could leave Texas high and dry 

As the Omicron variant continues to surge across Texas, a shortage of blood reserves has hit blood banks across the nation. A perfect storm of COVID, drive cancellations and the calendar has left supplies at decade lows. For more we’re talking with Dr. Merlyn Sayers, president and CEO of Carter BloodCare in Bedford, Texas.

New COVID medication arrives in Texas

As the pandemic wears on, healthcare workers have more options to treat people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. Those options now include oral medications. While not yet widely available, the Texas Department of State Health Services has distributed oral meds to select pharmacies across the state. Kunal Nagarsheth, pharmacist with Liberty Pharmacy in Georgetown, Texas, joins us to discuss the medication.

Rio Grande Valley schools reopen amid omicron spike

Rice accused of colluding with other universities over student aid

Texas’ Rice University is being sued alongside 15 other elite private colleges for what plaintiffs call an unfair formula to determine which students get financial aid. The suit also claims the schools overcharged as many as 170,000 students who were eligible for aid and violated antitrust laws. Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, joins us with more

New push to compensate Texans harmed by nuclear testing

The federal government has compensated some citizens affected by the United States’ development of the nuclear bomb: uranium miners, people downwind from test sites and so on. But these efforts haven’t been comprehensive. Now, there’s a new push to make amends with those who’ve been harmed by nuclear testing, including Texans. Joining us now to tell us more is Istra Fuhrmann, a San Antonio-based organizer on nuclear weapons policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

How Houston’s approaching the teacher shortage

With a teacher shortage nationwide, many school districts in Texas are desperate to bring in new teachers for in-person learning. In the Houston area, teacher residency programs have been helping fill the gap by offering apprentices the chance to work with mentors in the classroom. Cory McGinnis of Houston Public Media spoke with several teachers working in the classroom for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Stories from Texas with W.F. Strong 

Pop quiz: What’s the official state bird of Texas? If you think you know for sure, hold that thought. As our commentator W.F. Strong notes, Texas seems to have more than its share of official symbols.

Fact-checking O’Rourke on Medicaid expansion

At a recent rally, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke said expanding Medicaid in Texas would have brought $100 billion to the state’s economy. Is that a fact? Nusaiba Mizan looked into this claim for PolitiFact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

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