As faculty districts contemplate learn how to strategy studying this fall with no signal of the coronavirus slowing, the virus has already had devastating penalties in a single rural Arizona faculty district.
Jena Martinez-Inzunza was one among three elementary faculty lecturers on the Hayden Winkelman Unified School District who all examined constructive for COVID-19 after educating digital summer season faculty classes collectively from the identical classroom.
Martinez’s colleague and buddy, Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, who taught within the district for practically 4 many years, died.
“She was very dear to me. She’s one of my closest friends,” Martinez advised Morning Edition.
“She was a very loving, very faithful person and she was very kind. She always loved watching kids find their way, find their strong points and be able to get them to understand that everyone is different. We all have strengths and weaknesses. And that’s OK. And that was the message and the love that she brought to our lives.”
When educating summer season faculty lessons collectively from June 8-11, the three lecturers: Martinez, Byrd and Angela Skillings, all took precautions and adopted CDC tips, Martinez says. They saved their distance, wore masks and continually used hand sanitizer.
Byrd began feeling sick and went to the hospital on June 13. She had underlying circumstances, together with bronchial asthma, and sometimes had sinus infections, according to CNN. She died on June 26.
Byrd’s loss of life not solely leaves a neighborhood mourning, it illustrates the danger of in-person education. No college students have been bodily current when the three lecturers taught their on-line lessons.
But the choice, online-only instruction, has its personal challenges for lecturers and college students.
Martinez had already been doing on-line instruction since faculties closed in March. It’s “made for very long days,” she says, due to the fixed and several types of communication between lecturers, mother and father and college students: FaceTime, textual content, e mail, telephone calls and sending bodily studying packets. Not all the scholars have access to the Internet.
As of now, the Hayden Winkelman district shall be going online-only when lessons resume in August. The faculty has been working to assist unconnected households get on-line and supply iPads to college students, Martinez says.
It will nonetheless be a problem, however Martinez says “it’s not the right time” for college kids to be again within the faculty constructing, with Arizona being a coronavirus hot spot.
“It’s just going to be worse when we repopulate schools” this fall, she says, if Arizonans do not change into extra diligent in stopping the virus’s unfold.
NPR’s Krista Kapralos and Taylor Haney produced and edited the audio model of this story.