Thursday, September 10, 2020

Teacher deaths raise alarms as new school year begins

AshLee DeMarinis is shown in an undated photo provided by her sister, Jennifer Heissenbuttel. DeMarinis, a middle school teacher in eastern Missouri's Potosi School District, died Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, after being hospitalized for three weeks with COVID-19. DeMarinis became ill last month before kids returned to class, but had been to her classroom preparing for the school year, Heissenbuttel said. (Jennifer Heissenbuttel via AP)

By  Jim Salter and Leah Willingham

O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Teachers in at least three states have died after bouts with the coronavirus since the dawn of the new school year, and a teachers’ union leader worries that the return to in-person classes will have a deadly impact across the U.S. if proper precautions aren’t taken.

AshLee DeMarinis was just 34 when she died Sunday after three weeks in the hospital. She taught social skills and special education at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Missouri, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis.

A third-grade teacher died Monday in South Carolina, and two other educators died recently in Mississippi. It’s unclear how many teachers in the U.S. have become ill with COVID-19 since the new school year began, but Mississippi alone has reported 604 cases among school teachers and staff.  Read more >>