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

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

Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth-grade social science teacher at Connally Junior High School, died of Covid on Saturday.

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

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

It was not immediately known whether any of the teachers had been vaccinated, or whether they had contracted the virus at school.

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

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

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

“We have found no connection” between the two deaths, Bottelberghe said.

“They were at two different grade levels, even though they worked in the same content area, but we have recognized that there has been an increase in the spread across our entire student body at those two grades.”

Connally Junior High has confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 since classes began on Aug. 18, Bottelberghe said Monday.

She added that more cases had been confirmed in recent days, but she wasn’t sure if they could be directly traced back to Chansler.

In an email on Monday, Chief Inspector Wesley Holt said the hope “is that the closure and holiday break will give those who are positive with the virus or have been exposed to the virus to others, time to isolate and recover.

‘This closure also means there is time for a thorough cleaning and disinfection of all CISD facilities.’

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 since classes began Aug. 18, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said Monday

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 since classes began Aug. 18, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said Monday

Connally Junior High confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 since classes began Aug. 18, Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe said Monday

On Sunday, the district gave rapid COVID-19 tests to 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 limit the spread of the virus by identifying cases, including asymptomatic individuals who can then isolate for 10 days,” added Holt.

The district will also provide testing for the families of the students who may 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 to Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco on March 25, 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The state of Texas has seen deaths from COVID-19 soar since June.  The seven-day average is 209 on August 30

The state of Texas has seen deaths from COVID-19 soar since June.  The seven-day average is 209 on August 30

The state of Texas has seen deaths from COVID-19 soar since June. The seven-day average is 209 on 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

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

About 47.3 percent of the 29 million people in Texas were fully vaccinated by August 31

About 47.3 percent of the 29 million people in Texas were fully vaccinated by August 31

About 47.3 percent of the 29 million people in Texas were fully vaccinated by August 31

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