Texas school district temporarily closes after 2 teachers die of COVID

A Texas school district has shut down all campuses for at least a week after two teachers died of coronavirus in recent days.

The Connally Independent School District said Tuesday that its five schools would be closed until after the Labor Day holiday weekend to allow anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to isolate and recover.

The move follows the death of 41-year-old Natalia Chansler, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High School who lost a battle with COVID-19 on Saturday, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe told the community. Chansler’s death came four days after 59-year-old David McCormick, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at the same school, died of coronavirus complications, Bottelberghe said.

The pair’s vaccination status has not been released.

More than 50 infections have been confirmed in the district since classes began Aug. 18, officials said. It was unclear if any of those cases are directly linked to Chansler or McCormick.

The district also has not found any correlation between the two deaths, Bottelberghe said.

“They were at two different grade levels even though they worked under the same content area, but we have recognized that there has been an increase in spread as far as throughout our student body at those two grade levels,” she said.

The district is just north of Waco in McLennan County, an area that is seeing a major increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The county of about 250,000 people had nearly 1,500 positive tests in the past seven days, about 16% more than the previous week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wesley Holt, superintendent of the Connally school district, said in an email to parents this week that the temporary closure would also provide time for “deep cleaning and sanitizing of all CISD facilities.”

A football game scheduled for Friday night is set to go on as planned.

With News Wire Services

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