3 Arizona Teachers Contracted COVID-19 While Sharing a Summer Classroom and 1 of Them Died

As teachers gear up for a new school year of unknowns, the fear continues to grow after three teachers who shared a classroom in Arizona were diagnosed with COVID-19, one of them passing away from it.

Though the teachers all practiced social distancing, wore masks and used hand sanitizer religiously when in contact with each other, the three of them still contracted the virus around the same time. And while two of the teachers recovered, one of them was not so lucky.

Her name was Kimberly Chavez Lopez Byrd. She was a 61 teacher at Hayden Winkelman School District in Gila County, and fought the virus for two weeks in the hospital before she died. Her two colleagues Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings are still experiencing fatigue and coughing from the virus, but are in recovery.

Byrd worked in the district for a total of 38 years and was remembered fondly by those who worked with her.

“She was very supportive. She was what I would call a giver: a giver of knowledge, a giver of kindness,” said Martinez.

She was survived by her husband of nearly 24 years, Jesse, and her son and daughter. After the family visited Byrd, they all contracted coronavirus, in addition to their daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and several other of their relatives.

The CDC has released a lengthy list of guidelines for the safe return of students to school, including spacing desks six feet apart and staying in one classroom the entire da, for but many teachers are fearful of risking their lives, especially after a situation like this one.

To hear more about Byrd’s diagnosis, as well as hear from her colleagues themselves, check out the video below.

What are your thoughts on reopening schools in the fall? Do you think there’s any way to keep kids and teachers completely safe?