Courtesy of CNN:

Three teachers in Arizona were sharing a classroom for two hours a day teaching online classes during the pandemic.

Despite following protocols — social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and using hand sanitizer — they were all sickened by the coronavirus.

Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died June 26, less than two weeks after she was hospitalized. She had worked for the Hayden Winkelman School District for 38 years.

The two surviving teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, spoke with CNN’s Don Lemon on CNN Tonight Monday and said that it is not yet safe for kids, or teachers, to return to the classroom.

We followed everything we were supposed to do,” Martinez said, pointing to CDC guidelines and their own school’s mandate for how to safely come back to campus. “While we were there, we did distance ourselves.”

But that didn’t stop them from all catching the virus, with Byrd being the first. The other teachers received a call that their colleague was in the hospital, had been tested for Covid-19, and was going to be put on a ventilator.

Martinez and Skillings both say that even with good hygiene practices in place, it’s too soon to return. They know because they’ve experienced it first-hand.

“Schools are not ready to open,” Skillings told Lemon, adding that schools are scheduled to reopen in Arizona on August 17.

“There’s no documentation that children aren’t going to transmit it back and forth in the classroom or that it isn’t going to affect them harshly,” Skillings cautioned. “Our schools are not ready. We are not prepared to open up. We’re supposed to open up on the 17 of August and there’s no way that even the teachers are ready for that to happen.”

They did everything they were supposed to do to keep themselves safe, and they were still infected. 

This will be the story that is repeated all over this country if we simply reopen schools, even with modifications in place, such as smaller class sizes, masks, and fewer in-person school days. 

At this point in time, there is simply no way to do this safely. 

And some school districts are figuring that out. 

Courtesy of NYT:

California’s two largest public school districts said on Monday that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control.

The school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which together enroll some 825,000 students, are the largest in the country to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August.

Good for them, and this should be the model adopted by every school district in the country until this virus has finally run its course.