Teaching Profession

In Fla. District Caught in Mask Debate, 3 Educators Die of COVID Just Before School Starts

By Madeleine Romance, Miami Herald — August 13, 2021 1 min read
A Broward County school bus is seen at a bus depot in Broward County, Fla.
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One week before school is set to begin, three Broward County Public Schools teachers died in recent days from COVID-19 complications, Anna Fusco, elementary school teacher and Broward Teacher Union President, told CBS4 Miami.

“It was a sad day for three schools because our teachers walked back on campus with their principals and they got the news from their families that they wouldn’t be reporting because they passed away from COVID,” Fusco said.

One female teacher, who was 48, and one female teacher assistant, who was 49, worked at the same elementary school, according to a Broward Teachers Union press release. The other teacher who died taught at another elementary school. She was 48.

Educators We’ve Lost to the Coronavirus

In April of 2020, Education Week began a memorial to remember educators who lost their life to COVID-19. As of August 11, 2021, at least 985 active and retired K-12 educators and personnel have died of COVID-19. View the gallery.

The union had initially reported a fourth death but that was COVID-19 victim was not an employee, the release said, but a Broward County Public Schools graduate with close ties to the district because of her job.

“We grieve their losses along with their families and the school communities they left behind,” the press release reads.

The three teachers were not vaccinated, Fusco said.

The teachers did not contract the virus at school, according to Fusco. Some had family members who had contracted the virus and spread it to them.

The teacher’s aide and one of the teachers were teachers from the same school. One of the teachers who died taught elementary school, and the other was a high school teacher, according to Fusco. She did not provide the names of schools or teachers.

“It’s extremely frightening. I hear this every day. Whether in Broward or elsewhere. We’re the 5th largest union in the country,” said Fusco.

Since August 1, 138 Broward County Public Schools employees have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the school Covid-19 dashboard. Thirteen students have tested positive in the same period.

It’s extremely frightening. I hear this every day. Whether in Broward or elsewhere.

The Broward school board recently voted 8-1 in support of a face mask mandate, defying Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has ordered schools not to make masks mandatory.

Copyright (c) 2021, Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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