Another 14,780 new coronavirus cases Friday put Texas among the hardest-hit states in the nation. Along with California, Florida, and New York, Texas now has more than 300,000 confirmed cases, NBC News reports. The Friday total was a one-day record for Texas. In anticipation of the death toll climbing, funeral homes are stocking up on body bags, and FEMA has dispatched 14 more refrigerated trucks—making 22 altogether. A report for the White House Coronavirus Task Force lists 123 Texas counties in the "red zone," per KXAS, meaning they have more than 100 cases per 100,000 people. Stricter safety measures could follow as a result. The number of coronavirus cases and the number of positive tests for the most recent weekly period in Texas were twice the national average.
Texas education officials told schools Friday they don't have to require students to attend classes in person for the first four weeks of the school year if they don't want to. Another four-week waiver would be available after that, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The state teachers union said that's not enough. "Irrelevant deadlines are not what educators and students need," its president said. "Educators, students and their parents need assurance that school buildings will not be reopened until it is safe to do so." Houston and Dallas schools already had decided to delay reopening for in-person classes. A "Return to Learn" survey of parents reported finding that 83% want their children to return in person; the difference was much closer to an even split in Arlington and Fort Worth. An online petition to allow students to stay away until "it's safe to return" had more than 90,000 signatures. (Read more coronavirus stories.)