TWC Executive Director Ed Serna to host Facebook Live Q&A Addressing COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance (UI) Questions

AUSTIN – Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Executive Director Ed Serna will hold a Facebook Live Town Hall in which he will answer questions important to Texas and Texans about how the Unemployment Insurance Process works and how TWC is bolstering its resources to meet the unique challenges of COVID-19.

“Texas faces a situation unlike any other in modern history, and the solution is we come together – Texans helping Texans,” Serna said. “The Texas Workforce Commission is here to assure that all Texans get all the employment benefits to which they’re entitled. Unemployment Insurance is a promise to Texans and it is a promise we will keep. Our number one priority right now is helping Texans manage this situation.”

Many people across the Lone Star State have questions about how unemployment insurance works, how it is paid, how to sign up for benefits, and how to use the resources of TWC to find new employment. Just as importantly, the unprecedented need that Texans are experiencing poses challenges on the state’s unemployment insurance infrastructure. TWC, working with the Texas Department of Information Resources, has bolstered its bandwidth online and TWC call centers remain open during the current crisis.

Citizens and media may submit all questions by Facebook or to communications@twc.texas.gov by 8 a.m. Wednesday. Serna will address these questions during the 30 minute live event, which will be held on the TWC Facebook page at facebook.com/texasworkforcecommission.


Throughout its 140 years, SHSU has directly experienced events that changed us and our nation. With each change, Bearkats had to find new ways to face those challenges and today is no different.

Right now, many of our students are experiencing enormous disruptions to their lives. More than 75 percent of them depend on income from jobs to help pay for college, and are seriously impacted by the closures of restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses. Some students are experiencing housing insecurity, food insecurity, or both.

During this crisis, we want to help our most vulnerable student population and address their basic needs to keep their education on track. The Bearkat Emergency Fund was established to provide temporary financial assistance to those students who have hardships due to COVID-19.


Please invest in our future, these students, and consider making a gift today to the Bearkat Emergency Fund to provide assistance to help meet our students’ basic needs.

Although we must maintain our distance to keep one another safe, we can still work together to meet our students’ greatest needs.


Dana G. Hoyt


The Office of Walker County Emergency Management reported Monday that County stakeholders continue to meet daily to discuss current conditions, unmet needs and operational procedures for every sector.

They are continually monitoring conditions locally, regionally, statewide and at the national level.

Here are the statistics reported by Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as of March 23, 2020. DSHS updates this report each weekday by noon:

Texas total testing – 10,055

Texas COVID-19 cases – 352
Deaths – 8

Walker County has one confirmed case of COVID-19 but it has not been added to the DSHS report, as may other counties that have positives cases. Reported above are only the cases listed with DSHS.

National COVID-19 cases – 33,404
Total Deaths – 400

Walker County ordered test kits several weeks ago and is waiting for the state to fill that request so we can test here. Information will be provided as they receive it.

Harris County is now testing for coronavirus for the entire region. Access their online screening tool to help with testing at www.readyharris.org and click on the “coronavirus testing” button. You will answer some screening questions and be given an identifier number. They will prioritize tests based on symptoms. You must have symptoms to be considered for testing. If you do not have access to the internet, call 832-927-7575.

Walker County Judge Danny Pierce extended the Disaster Declaration to Monday, March 30th.

For Statewide case numbers and information, visit https://dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm#coronavirus

For National case numbers and information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

Walker County OEM will provide this update each weekday after the statewide and national numbers are updated.


The Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees is holding a regular board meeting tonight at six at the Hawkins Administration Building.

With the local disaster declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in adherence to the Walker County Order prohibiting gatherings of over 10 persons, the Board will adhere to the new Texas Open Meetings Act guidelines from Governor Abbott. The meeting will not be open to the public to attend in person, but instead will be “live-streamed” to the Huntsville ISD webpage for public viewing during the meeting. The webpage address is huntsville-isd.org.

Also regarding Public Comment at the meeting, as per board policy anyone that wishes to speak may do so during the Public Comments section of the Agenda. The Board asks that comments pertain to public education and be no longer than three minutes. The Board will not respond to the comments or answer questions during the meeting.

Individuals who wish to address the Board during “Public Comment” should send their name, address, phone number and a briefly-stated topic to address via email to sodom@huntsville-isd.org no later than 5 this afternoon.

Tonight’s “Consent Agenda” includes consideration of Board approval to participate in the 2020 Seamless Summer Option Program, approval of the 2020-2021 allotment and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Certification and the Historic Property Site Property Tax Exemption for Samuel Walker Houston Cultural Center & Museum.

Also tonight, Board members will look at approving a resolution on compensation of wages during COVID-19 closure of schools.

And at tonight’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Scott Shepherd will pass along information regarding District events and items of community interest.


Democratic Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, told reporters he thinks that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate will reach an agreement on the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed reporters that progress was made in night-time negotiations. Senator Schumer said he thinks there will be a vote sometime Tuesday.


With many students facing uncertain conditions and limited groceries amidst the current health crisis, the SHSU Food Pantry is stepping up to help. SHSU is working to alleviate additional stress on community resources by providing emergency food kits, along with a hot meal, to students in need on Wednesday, March 25 at the Food Pantry located at 1108 17th street.


Students needing food assistance should register through MySam, under the “Student Assistance” tab at least one day prior to a distribution day. They will need to bring their SAM ID, as well. Distribution dates are available through the SHSU Food Pantry’s Facebook page.


To respect social distancing recommendations, there will be two distribution sessions with groups of 10 being serviced at a time. The session times will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Walker County is reporting the first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in a county resident. The person is male, in his early twenties, and the source of the infection is being investigated at this time.  This person was tested outside of Walker County.  He is currently experiencing mild symptoms and has been isolated at home.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is supporting Walker County in identifying any close contacts of the patient so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if needed.