Teachers Have Died From COVID in at Least Three States

THURSDAY, Sept. 10, 2020 (Healthday News) -- It's early in the school year, but there have already been teacher deaths from COVID-19 in at least three states, leading to calls for better protections for educators.

Two teachers died recently in Mississippi, and a third-grade teacher died Monday in South Carolina. On Sunday, Missouri teacher AshLee DeMarinis, 34, died after three weeks in the hospital, the Associated Press reported.

The actual number of COVID-19 cases among U.S. teachers since the start of the school year isn't known, but there have already been 604 cases reported among teachers and school staff in Mississippi alone.

Schools require measures such as mandatory face coverings and strict social distancing rules to reopen safely, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

"If community spread is too high, as it is in Missouri and Mississippi, if you don't have the infrastructure of testing, and if you don't have the safeguards that prevent the spread of viruses in the school, we believe that you cannot reopen in person," Weingarten told the AP.

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