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Arizona Teacher Dies of COVID-19 After Sharing Classroom with Colleagues Who Also Tested Positive

arizona teacher

Three teachers from Arizona have contracted COVID-19 on sharing a classroom for a summer school course. According to sources, one of the teachers from Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District in eastern Arizona has passed away.

First-grade teacher – Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd died on June 26 due to coronavirus complications. She died just under two weeks after she was hospitalized. The other two teachers — Jena Martinez-Inzunza and Angela Skillings — are still hospitalized and battling the virus, according to CNN.

61 years old Byrd had worked as a teacher for the last 38 years. The principal of Leonor Hambly K8 – Pamela Gonzalez, told CNN –

“Losing Mrs. Byrd in our small rural community was devastating. She was an excellent educator with a huge heart. We find comfort in knowing her story may bring awareness to the importance of keeping our school employees safe and our precious students safe in this pandemic.”

The school officials informed that the three teachers attended the summer school class virtually from the same classroom. How all the three teachers came down with the virus is not verified.

Although all three wore masks and gloves, used hand sanitizer, and maintained social distanced properly

three teachers

Byrd was admitted and put on a ventilator on June 13. Byrd’s husband Jesse Byrd informed the reporters that she was prone to sinus infection adding asthma, diabetes, and lupus as well. He told –

“I just had this horrible gut-wrenching feeling just knowing how much of a struggle this was going to be because I knew her lungs were compromised even before this … fear, just the worst fear that you could feel. I knew it was going to be rough on her.”

“We just prayed for a miracle, and we put her in God’s hands and we said either he’s gonna work a miracle in her and save her or he’s gonna take her home,” Jesse added. “She didn’t make it … It’s been devastating for us here in our home.”

After Byrd was hospitalized, her husband, her daughter, son, daughter-in-law, 4-year-old granddaughter, and several other relatives also tested positive for COVID-19. Now Byrd’s death is treated as a warning for communities across the country as select government officials push to reopen schools in the fall.

Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off federal funding to schools that choose not to reopen in the fall in a series of tweets pressuring schools to reopen

In response, Martinez-Inzunza, one of the other two Hayden-Winkelman teachers with COVID-19 told The Arizona Republic.

“Everything is safety, safety, safety. What a contradiction to be threatened by the president. What a contradiction to be bullied: ‘Do this, or I’m going to pull funding.’ What a contradiction to say our kids’ lives matter … Why would you push to open schools?”

The public is not in favor of reopening schools as the kids will easily contract the deadly coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Betsy Devos said it should be “the rule” for students to return to schools in the fall. He is the present Education Secretary. On Sunday he said that the schools should follow the guidelines, speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash during an appearance on State of the Union –

“It is a matter of paying attention to good hygiene. Schools should focus on following the guidelines about making sure we’re washing hands, wearing masks when appropriate, staying apart at a bit of distance socially, and doing the things that are common sense approaches to ensuring that kids can go back to the classroom and go back to learning.”

While on Wednesday, Arne Duncan,  reassured the public during a briefing with reporters saying that –

“Trump has no legal authority to withhold funds. Threatening people, bullying them, lying doesn’t stop the virus from spreading.”

Duncan was the secretary of education under former President Barack Obama.

Written by Anukriti Ghosh

Though I am a Bioinformatician, my inclination towards content writing is never less than it. I relish doing research, reading, and writing. I can easily jot down, not for me but for my readers. And through this, I wish to bring the best of me to my readers.

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