FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 14, 2020
Edie Surtees, Disability Rights Texas
UPDATE AS OF 3/23/2020: We have extended our emergency operational procedures explained below until at least May 15, 2020.
Other helpful numbers:
Applying for our legal services: 1-800-252-9108 or intake.DRTx.org
Clients who have open cases: 1-800-315-3876
Public events, presentations, other issues: (512) 454-4816
DRTx Continues Providing Services During COVID-19 Outbreak
All Offices Closed to the Public, Temporary Operational Procedures in Place
AUSTIN—Disability Rights Texas, the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas, is committed to the health and safety of our staff, their families, and the people we serve.
Because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and in an effort to prevent community spread, we are taking the following precautions until at least March 27, 2020, or longer if needed. These safeguards are in place not only to protect our staff and clients, but also the communities where we live and especially populations that are more vulnerable to the virus.
Please know we are equally committed during this time to continuing our services to protect and advocate for people with disabilities.
Starting March 13, 2020, and continuing until at least March 27, 2020, or longer if required:
- We have asked as many staff as possible to work from home. Our Information Technology Team is providing support and resources to allow our staff to continue to do their work and offer services to our clients and the community with as little interruption as possible. You can still contact our main line and individual staff through email addresses or phone numbers previously provided.
- Our offices throughout the state will be closed to the public. Locations include our headquarters in Austin, and offices in Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, and San Antonio.
- Our intake phone lines and our office and staff phone lines will remain open during regular business hours.
- Our staff will not participate in any in-person meetings at our offices or in other locations. We will use email, telephone, video conferencing and other means to communicate with clients and others. Any organizations that are scheduled to utilize our large conference room in Austin or in any of our offices are now cancelled.
- All staff speaking engagements and exhibiting events are cancelled. We can provide real-time presentations online using technology such as our Zoom conferencing tool. And we are glad to send brochures as needed to places where we had plans to exhibit.
- All non-essential staff travel is suspended.
We urge you to continue taking preventive measures recommended by the CDC including proper hand washing, social distancing, and more. We have created a special COVID-19 web page on our website with links to information on prevention, symptoms, and more.
Also be watching on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and our website for special resources for people with disabilities who might be facing unique disability rights situations because of the outbreak. One of our new Special Education resources is for parents of children receiving special education services in schools that are closed or using distance learning.
We will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and provide regular updates to our community on changes in our timeframe or specifics of these preventive measures.
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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.