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Texas School District Closes For A Week After 2 Teachers Die Of COVID-19

WACO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - A Central Texas school district closed its schools Tuesday, August 31, until after the Labor Day holiday, after two teachers died of COVID-19 last week.

Connally Independent School District leaders closed the five suburban Waco schools for the rest of the week after the Saturday COVID-19 death of Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High School, said Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe.

Chansler's death came days after David McCormick, 59, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High, died of COVID-19, Bottelberghe said.

It was not immediately known if either teacher was vaccinated.

Connally High School football coach Terry Gerik says the Cadets will play La Vega as scheduled Friday night.

The school has had 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases since classes began Aug. 18, Bottelberghe said Monday, August 29.

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.

"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."

In a Monday email, Superintendent Wesley Holt 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."

The rolling seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases in Texas was 15,400 cases as of Sunday, August 28,according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rolling seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths in Texas was 200 per day.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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