Sep 1, 2021 - Health

Texas school temporarily closes after two teachers die from COVID-19 in a week

American and Texas state flag

American and Texas state flag. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A school in Texas closed for the rest of the week on Tuesday after two teachers died from COVID-19 within a week, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports.

State of play: The campus at Connally Junior High School won't open until after Labor Day for deep sanitation, after sixth-grade social studies teacher Natalia Chansler died on Aug. 28, having notified the school three days earlier that she tested positive for COVID-19.

  • That came after seventh-grade social studies teacher David McCormick died on Aug. 24, after last being seen on campus a week earlier.

Worth noting: Jill Bottelberghe, assistant superintendent of human resources, told the Tribune-Herald that the school's entire staff was tested for the virus last Sunday and Monday.

  • Since classes started on Aug. 18 the school has had 51 positive cases.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases in Texas schools are surging because of the Delta variant. Gov. Greg Abbott has fought vehemently against implementing public health measures like vaccine and mask mandates.

  • Since the Texas Department of State Health Services started tracking data on Aug. 2 for the new school year, there have been 20,256 reported COVID-19 cases among students, per the Texas Tribune.

What they're saying: “We are very heartbroken,” Bottelberghe said. “This is the second staff member that we have lost in a matter of a week due to COVID. It is very devastating as far as the students, the staff, and the community as a whole.”

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