- Two teachers at a Texas junior high school died from COVID-19 within a matter of days.
- Connally Independent School District shut down through the Labor Day weekend following the second death.
- The temporary shut down comes as the amid a surge of cases following the start of the school year.
A Texas school district is temporarily shutting down through the Labor Day weekend after two middle school teachers died from COVID-19 within days of each other.
Connally Independent School District in Waco, Texas, closed its five schools for the rest of the week following the death of Natalia Chansler, 41, on Saturday. The sixth-grade social studies teacher’s death came just days after David McCormick, 59, a seventh-grade social studies teacher also died from COVID-19 complications.
Both Chansler and McCormick worked at Connally Junior High School, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said.
“We are very heartbroken,” Bottelberghe told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “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.”
It was not immediately clear if either teacher was vaccinated.
Chansler was last on campus on Wednesday, August 25, according to KCEN-TV, the same day she informed administrators that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
Following her reporting, the school district conducted contact tracing, giving students and teachers the option to quarantine if they had been exposed, the Tribune-Herald reported.
Teachers that chose not to quarantine had to be tested at least every two days until the typical quarantine period was over, according to the outlet.
Bottelberghe told the Tribune-Herald that the entire junior high staff was tested for COVID-19 between Sunday and Monday.
In an email to parents this week, Connally Independent School District Superintendent Wesley Holt said in-person learning will resume on Tuesday, September 7.
“Our hope is that the closure and holiday break will provide those who are positive with the virus or exposed to others with the virus, the time to isolate and recover. This closure will also allow time for deep cleaning and sanitizing of all CISD facilities,” Holt said.
The temporary shut down comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases following the start of the school year. Since classes began on August 18, Connally Junior High has confirmed 51 positive cases, KCEN-TV reported.
The district is slated to host a vaccination clinic on September 13.