Three Rural Arizona Teachers Who Taught Summer School In The Same Classroom All Got COVID-19, One Died From It

An empty classroom
Feliphe Schiarolli / Unsplash

Three teachers in rural Arizona who shared the same summer school classroom all came down with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and one has died from it, CNN reported. All three teachers took precautions, such as wearing masks.

Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings all taught summer school at the Hayden Winkelman School District. All three wore masks and gloves, used hand sanitizer, and followed social distancing protocols.

Nevertheless, in June they started getting sick.

Kimberley Byrd, who was prone to sinus infections and had asthma, diabetes, and lupus, went to the emergency room and was given antibiotics and steroids.

The next morning, she was on a ventilator. Her husband, Jesse Byrd Sr., says that he knew she would have a tough road ahead of her.

“I just had this horrible gut-wrenching feeling just knowing how much of a struggle this was going to be because I knew her lungs were compromised even before this… fear, just the worst fear that you could feel. I knew it was going to be rough on her,” he said.

Meanwhile, it appears that Byrd also brought the coronavirus home to her family. Multiple relatives, including her 4-year-old granddaughter, all contracted COVID-19 as well.

As for Kimberley, her condition started improving, but then she took a turn for the worse. She died not long before what would have been her 24th wedding anniversary.

In a statement, Pamela Gonzalez, principal of Leonor Hambly K-8, called the loss of Mrs. Byrd “devastating.”

“Losing Mrs. Byrd in our small rural community was devastating. She was an excellent educator with a huge heart,” Gonzalez said.

The other two teachers, Martinez and Skillings, say they’re still struggling with the effects of the coronavirus.

Jeff Gregorich, superintendent of the school district, said via WITI-TV that the time is not right to reopen schools.

“It’s just not the right time. The teachers are scared. All of them are scared to come back and teach in a classroom of kids,” he said.

a classroom of students
  CDC / Unsplash

However, President Trump is pushing hard for schools to reopen in the fall. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, he has called Centers for Disease Control guidelines on reopening schools “tough” and “expensive,” and has even threatened to withhold federal funds from schools that don’t reopen in the fall.

The CDC guidelines include encouraging students and employees to stay home whenever they’re sick, teaching and reinforcing frequent hand washing, encouraging students and teachers to wear masks, and discouraging the use of shared objects.