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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.”

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Oct 17, 2021 - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents

Pope Francis. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis called on pharmaceutical companies on Saturday to release patents to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the poor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: There is a stark divide between countries that have access to COVID-19 shots and those that don't, and the gap has widened as some wealthier countries have begun distributing third doses.