Southern Florida school district has been rattled by the deaths of teachers in less than a week before students are scheduled to return to their classrooms.
According to reports, three educators - two teachers and an assistant -- died this week due to Covid-19. Reportedly, the three educators worked at an elementary school.
Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said that the start of the new school year has been a mix of emotions as the first day approaches. According to a statement released Friday from the Broward Teachers Union, a second female elementary school teacher has also died. She was 48.
Moreover, all the teachers died within a 24-hour time span, Union officials said. "The whole excitement of going back was just running through our teachers when we went back to work on Wednesday," Fusco told the media on Saturday.
"And then the sense of anxiety that our governor's interfering with the safety protocols and wanting to block the mask mandate because they know it's an extra layer of protection. And then the deaths that were reported."
Fusco revealed that Pinewood Elementary teacher and union steward Janice Wright 48, teacher Katina Jones, 49, and teaching assistant Yolonda Hudson-Williams, 49, both of Dillard Elementary, passed away due to COVID-19 this past week.
Earlier, Anna Fusco incorrectly said that three teachers and one teacher's assistant died earlier this week from Covid-19 complications, but that the union has corrected the previous statement from their president. "We grieve their losses along with their families and the school communities they left behind," the union said, according to reports.
Teachers Who Died of Covid Were Not Vaccinated
Moreover, the teachers who have lost their lives in Covid were not vaccinated as revealed by Fusco. Schools in Broward County are likely to reopen for the new academic session on Wednesday. A district spokesperson declined to comment on the teacher deaths, citing the confidentiality of employee medical information.
However, the spokesperson provided a statement about how its school board voted 8-1 to mandate masks in schools on Tuesday. The decision follows guidelines from the state health and education departments, the statement said.
Cases Spike in Florida
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases have spiked in Florida in recent weeks, spurred on by a delta variant, which is 40-60% more transmissible than Alpha and almost twice as transmissible as the original Wuhan strain SARS-CoV-2, according to reports.
Florida state officials recorded over 151,410 new cases of the novel coronavirus, 14,675 of which have been detected in Broward County, between August 6 and August 12, 2021. The daily US case numbers have climbed 10-fold since late June and the rate of hospitalizations has been ever increasing since February.