Connally Junior High School
connally j h

Texas district closed its schools after 2 junior high teachers died of Covid-19

Sept. 6, 2021
The Connally district near Waco plans to reopen Tuesday and will require everyone to wear masks indoors.

The Connally (Texas) Independent School District school district closed all of its schools until after the Labor Day holiday after two junior high teachers died of Covid-19 complications in the same week.

CNN reports that sixth-grade social studies teacher Natalia Chansler, 41, died last week from complications from Covid-19. She was last on campus on Aug. 25. David A. McCormick, a 59-year-old 7th-grade social studies teacher, died on Aug. 24. He had last been at the school on August 18, which was the first day of school in the district.

In an email to parents, the district said it was closing all of its campuses because of an increase of Covid-19 cases and the number of absences of both students and staff.

"Our hope is that the closure and holiday break will provide those who are positive with the virus or exposed to others with the virus, the time to isolate and recover," the email said. "This closure will also allow time for deep cleaning and sanitizing of all CISD facilities,"

Because of a high incidence of Covid cases, the Connally district has announced that it will impose a facemask requirement inside district buildings starting Tuesday, KCEN-TV reports.

The school district made the decision citing a 16.3% positivity rate after nearly 600 students, staff and community members were tested for the virus over a two-day period late this week. The superintendent also cited a recent letter from the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District outlining statistics of positive cases among McLennan County youth.

"As educators, it is our duty to keep our students safe and healthy. We feel instituting a mask mandate is a step towards doing this," Superintendent Wesley  Holt said in the letter Friday.

Waco-McLennan County Public Health Authority Farley Verner also urged school districts in the county to emphasize wearing face coverings in schools.

The Connally district serves Lacy Lakeview, parts of Waco and the communities of Elm Mott, Chalk Bluff, and Gholson

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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