At least six teachers in five different states died from the coronavirus after the fall semester started and as many education workers express concerns about the safety of returning to school, The Washington Post reports.
Teachers in Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina have lost their lives since early August while students began returning to schools. The Post notes that it’s unclear if any of those teachers were infected at a school, but some did try to self-quarantine before they passed away to avoid spreading the disease.
Missouri special education teacher AshLee DeMarinis died last Sunday at the age of 34. Mississippi high school teacher Tom Slade, 53, also died on Sunday, while Mississippi assistant high school football coach Nacoma James, 42, died in early August. South Carolina third grade teacher Demetria “Demi” Bannister, 28, died earlier this week of complications from COVID-19. Oklahoma special education teacher Theresa Horn, 62, died of a heart attack after testing positive for the coronavirus. An unidentified special education teacher in Iowa died earlier this month of complications from the coronavirus.
“This death has shook many teachers in the district to our cores and underscores the importance of our district having the authority to keep our students, staff and community safe based on local health conditions,” Josh Brown, president of the Des Moines Education Association, told the Des Moines Register.