Texas school system closes after two teachers die from COVID

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A central Texas school district closed its schools until after the Labor Day vacation after two teachers died last week from COVID-19.

Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth grade social science teacher at Connally Junior High School, died of Covid on Saturday.

His death came days after David McCormick, 59, a seventh grade social studies teacher at the same school, was also killed by the virus.

Officials at Connally’s Independent School District will close its five suburban Waco schools for the remainder of the week, Deputy Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said.

It was not immediately clear if any of the teachers were vaccinated or if they caught the virus at school.



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“We found no correlation” between the two deaths, said Bottelberghe.

“They were at two different grade levels even though they were working in the same content area, but we recognized that there was an increase in the spread throughout our student body at those two grade levels.”

Connally Junior High has confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 since school began on August 18, Bottelberghe said on Monday.

She added that more cases had been confirmed in the past few days, but she was unsure if any were directly attributed to Chansler.

In an email Monday, Superintendent Wesley Holt said the hope “is that the closure and the vacation break will give those who test positive for the virus or are exposed to others with the virus time to recover. isolate and recover ”.

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“This closure will also allow time to thoroughly clean and disinfect all of the CISD facilities.”



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The district provided rapid COVID-19 tests to college staff on Sunday. He will also work closely with the McLennan County Public Health District to monitor cases of COVID-19.

“We know that testing can help stop the spread of the virus, by identifying cases, including asymptomatic individuals who can then self-isolate for 10 days,” added Holt.

The district will also offer testing to families of students who may have been in contact with Mr. McCormick and Ms. Chansler.

Another teacher from Connally High School, David Guel, had already contracted COVID-19 in late March 2020 and was admitted on March 25, 2020 to Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco.

He spent 26 days in intensive care, including 16 on a ventilator, local station KWTX reported.

Guel was released from the hospital on April 25, 2020. He returned to class for the start of the fall semester 2020.



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The seven-day average of Covid deaths in Texas reached 209 on Monday, CDC data showed. The seven-day average case was 16,629.

The state has seen an increase in cases and deaths since June.

As of August 31, about 47.3% of Texas’ 29 million people were fully immunized.

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