Texas school system closes until Labor Day after two teachers from the same high school die of COVID


A Central Texas school district has closed its schools until after the Labor Day holiday after two teachers died last week of COVID-19.

Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High School died on Saturday from Covid.

Her death came days after David McCormick, 59, a seventh grade social studies teacher at the same school, was also killed by the virus.

Connally Independent School District officials will close its five suburban Waco schools for the rest of the week, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said. 

It was not immediately known if either teacher was vaccinated, or whether they caught the virus at the school. 

Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High School, died Saturday of complications from the virus 

David McCormick, 59, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High died of COVID-19 just days before colleague Natalia Chansler

‘We have not found any correlation’ between the two deaths, Bottelberghe said. 

‘They were at two different grade levels even though they worked under the same content area, but we have recognized that there has been an increase in spread as far as throughout our student body at those two grade levels.’

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 COVID-19 cases since classes began August 18, Bottelberghe said Monday. 

She added that more cases had been confirmed in the last few days, but she did not know if any have been directly traced back to Chansler.

In an email on Monday, Superintendent Wesley Holt said the 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. 

‘This closure will also allow time for deep cleaning and sanitizing of all CISD facilities.’ 

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 COVID-19 cases since classes began August 18, assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said on Monday

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 COVID-19 cases since classes began August 18, assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said on Monday

On Sunday, the district provided rapid COVID-19 testing to the junior high school staff. It will also work closely with the McLennan County Public Health District to monitor COVID-19 cases.

‘We know that testing can help curtail the spread of the virus, by identifying cases, including asymptomatic individuals who can then isolate for 10 days,’ Holt added. 

The district will also offer testing for the families of the students who might have been in contact with Mr. McCormick and Ms. Chansler.   

Another Connally High School teacher David Guel had previously contracted COVID-19 in late March 2020 and was admitted on March 25, 2020, to Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco.

He spent 26 days in the ICU, 16 of them on a ventilator, reported local station KWTX.

Guel was released from the hospital on April 25, 2020. He returned to the classroom for the start of the fall 2020 semester.

Connally High School teacher David Guel spent 16 days on a ventilator fighting for his life in March and April 2020 before returning to teach for the start of the of fall semester in the same year

Connally High School teacher David Guel spent 16 days on a ventilator fighting for his life in March and April 2020 before returning to teach for the start of the of fall semester in the same year

The seven-day average for Covid deaths in Texas reached 209 on Monday, according to CDC data. The seven-day average of cases was 16,629.

The state has seen a surge in both cases and deaths since June. 

About 47.3 percent of Texas’ 29 million people have been fully vaccinated, as of August 31. 

The state of Texas has seen the number of deaths related to COVID-19 surge since June. The seven-day average is 209 as of August 30

The state of Texas has seen the number of deaths related to COVID-19 surge since June. The seven-day average is 209 as of August 30

In Texas, the number of new COVID-19 cases as of August 31 is 22,151

In Texas, the number of new COVID-19 cases as of August 31 is 22,151

About 47.3 percent of Texas¿ 29 million people have been fully vaccinated, as of August 31

About 47.3 percent of Texas’ 29 million people have been fully vaccinated, as of August 31



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