Texas Standard for January 19, 2022

Central and Southern Texas brace for the first winter storm event of 2022, as emergency teams in Bastrop struggle with a wildfire and evacuations. And: A wave of resignations from Texas school superintendents. Also: Texas experts offer a projection of when omicron may peak in Texas. Join us for all this and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJanuary 19, 2022 9:08 am,

The latest on Bastrop County’s wildfire

A wildfire in Bastrop County threatened neighborhoods and burned about 783 acres on Tuesday. It was 30% contained as of Wednesday morning. The Texas Standard’s Jill Ament shares an update at the top of today’s show.

When will the omicron variant peak?

Texas, along with the rest of the country, remains in the tight grip of COVID-19’s omicron surge. But could the omicron peak be near? Are some areas already seeing a peak in cases? UT Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has published various projections on when this latest surge could peak. Anass Bouchnita, who works with the consortium, joins us today.

What’s up with 5G and airports?

AT&T and Verizon say they will delay powering up the next generation wireless system known as 5G around some airports, including two in Texas. Airline CEOs are concerned the transmitters could affect systems on board several aircraft. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive reports.

‘Smart guns’ could gain traction this year 

For years, “smart guns” have been touted as a solution to accidental shootings. But the technology has remained largely out of reach – until possibly now. This year personalized guns, which may only be fired by a registered user, may finally come to market in the U.S. The idea is not without its critics, however. Daniel Trotta has been following the story for Reuters and joins us with more.

At-home COVID testing isn’t much of an option for blind and visually impaired people 

At-home COVID-19 tests – which you can now order from the federal government – offer some peace of mind and quick results. But at-home testing requires vision to administer and obtain results, meaning difficulty for people that are blind or visually impaired. Amanda Morris wrote about inaccessible COVID tests for The New York Times and joins the Standard today.

Big things are growing at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is planning for future growth. As KERA’s Miranda Suarez reports, a new master plan will help guide how the garden can serve the public – and how to make those ideas possible.

It’s not just teachers; school administrators are leaving too

Teacher turnover has been widely reported as COVID continues to strain Texas’ education system. But it’s not just teachers leaving Texas schools, but many administrators too. Over the past three months, eight superintendents in North Texas alone have announced they are leaving. What’s going on? We’re talking with Kevin Brown, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Fact-check: Did more Americans die from COVID-19 in 2021 than in 2020?

Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, says that as of early December more people died of COVID in 2021 than in 2020. Is that a fact? Nusaiba Mizan investigates this claim for Politifact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.

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

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