Three Broward County, Florida educators have died within about 24 hours of each other from complications related to Covid-19. The deaths come just a week before classes are due to begin in Broward County, one of the country’s largest school districts.
Local educations officials report that two teachers and a teaching assistant, all women, have died from Covid-19 related complications. All the deaths occurred between Monday night and Wednesday morning, the president of Broward Teachers Union, Anna Fusco, told CNN. According to Fusco, all three of the educators were unvaccinated.
Broward County School Board was aware of several deaths. Chair Rosalind Good told CNN “We got information on Tuesday that was reported to us. I know of three of those teachers that passed away from Covid in Broward County. I was also told that they were unvaccinated.”
Coronavirus cases are experiencing a surge in Florida and across the country resulting from low vaccination rates and the Delta variant. A worrying 138 Broward County Public Schools employees tested positive for Covid-19 since August 1.
Osgood is concerned. “You need to get vaccinated. This disease will kill you or leave with you a lifelong complication that not only impacts you but also impacts your family and the people that you love and care about.”
The school district has directed funds to incentivize staff to get vaccinated Osgood said.
Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order. The order requires the state’s health and education departments to make rules giving parents, not schools, the power to choose whether their children wear masks.
Broward County school district voted to maintain the mask mandate approved late last month in direct opposition to Gov. DeSantis’s executive order. The order is the subject of several lawsuits.
Osgood told CNN: “The eight of us on our board are adamant that we cannot have people in schools without masks because we are living backlash of people dying with Covid.”
She continued “You can’t take a risk with peoples’ lives. We feel strongly that the lives of our students and staff are invaluable,” She says: “We’re not willing to play Russian roulette with their lives or take a risk of losing people because we have people in schools without masks.”
Palm Beach County School District has asked 440 students to quarantine just 2 days into the school year. The request comes after 51 students and faculty confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Though students and staff in the district are required to wear masks Interim School District Superintendent Michael Burke said in an interview with MSNBC that 5,700 Palm Beach students have opted out as per DeSantis’s executive order.
Burkes places the blame on the opt-out rule for the spike in cases. “The governor has got to take responsibility for establishing the ground rules we’re operating under,” Burke said. “This ability for families to opt-out is leading to more cases, which will ultimately send more kids home and deprive them of that traditional classroom experience. I think if we really are committed to keeping kids in school, we should reassess the situation.”