GILA COUNTY, Ariz. — One of the three teachers who contracted COVID-19 in a shared Arizona classroom later died from the disease.
Kimberly Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died in a hospital on June 26 after battling coronavirus for nearly two weeks. Bryd along with two other teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skilling, all were sanitizing and wearing masks and gloves but still contracted coronavirus while sharing a summer classroom, according to KNXV-TV.
“All three teachers religiously followed the CDC social distancing, wore masks, gloves, and were continuously disinfecting throughout each session. Unfortunately, these protective CDC strategies did not keep any of them safe.” District Superintendent Jeff Gregorich told KNXV-TV.
Byrd’s family told KNXV-TV that she had a history of asthma. They also said that family members have also tested positive and are currently in quarantine.
The other teachers who contracted the virus in the classroom are still struggling from the effects of the virus. Jena Martinez recently tested negative after contracting the virus days after Byrd entered the hospital. Angela Skilling is still battling the virus.
The Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District, which is just over 100 miles east of Phoenix, will reopen virtually August 17.
The resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States has ignited fierce debate about whether to reopen schools, as global health officials warned that the pandemic will intensify unless more countries adopt comprehensive plans to combat it.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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