'At least six teachers' have died from coronavirus since schools started reopening in United States

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At least six teachers have died from coronavirus complications in the United States after schools started to reopen in August, according to reports. Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed for schools to reopen across the country and threatened to divert federal funding away from educational establishments if they did not get children back into classrooms. The US president cited research which shows children “often have only mild symptoms, and medical complications are incredibly rare – very, very, very rare”.

However, since schools started to reopen in early August, reports show at least six teachers in five states have died after contracting the virus. A football coach and two special education teachers are among those who have died. Demetria “Demi” Bannister, 28, a third-grade teacher in Columbia, South Carolina, died on Monday from complications of coronavirus, the State reported.

Ms Bannister led the school’s student choir in a number of performances and hosted a club for aspiring singers, officials at the school said. On Sunday, Tom Slade, a high school history teacher in Vancleave, died after contracting the virus, the Sun Herald reported. He was described as “an amazing part of the school and community”.

“He was a true representation of a Vancleave Bulldog and we will forever miss his wisdom, wittiness, love for all students, and love for his school family,” Vancleave High School wrote on its Facebook page. Special education teacher AshLee DeMarinis, 34, from Potosi, Missouri, also died on Sunday from Covid-19 complications, KMOV reported. She reportedly contracted the virus after returning to John Evans Middle School to begin preparing for the new term.

Friends described her as a “true angel” and “a saint here on earth”. Nacoma James, a football coach in Oxford, Mississippi, died in August during the first week back on campus for his students, Mississippi Today reported. He spent the summer coaching until he was forced to self-isolate after developing coronavirus symptoms.

Lafayette Athletics wrote on Twitter: “It would be impossible to count how many lives Coach Nacoma James touched during his life. “He only wanted the best from his students and athletes each day.” Special education teacher Teresa Horn, 62, died on August 28 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma from a heart attack after testing positive for the coronavirus, KTUL reported.

She worked at Tahlequah High School for 26 years and tested positive for coronavirus at the end of August. “She loved to meet people, always had a smile on her face, and left an impact on people,” her husband told KTUL. Mrs Horn’s death prompted officials to send children home for virtual classes.

A week before virtual classes were set to start in Des Moines, Iowa, a teacher, who has not been named, died after testing positive for the virus, according to the Des Moines Register. Meanwhile in New York City, one teacher and one school employee have tested positive 11 days before in-person classes resume, according to NBC New York. Despite efforts to wear masks, maintain social distancing and test teachers and students, Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly said that “of course” there would be coronavirus clusters when classes begin.

Mr Trump is continuing to push state leaders to reopen schools.

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He said in a tweet on Thursday: “Democrats, OPEN THE SCHOOLS ( SAFELY), NOW! When schools are closed, let the money follow the child (FAMILY). Why should schools be paid when they are closed?

They shouldn’t!”

The United States has recorded almost 6.4 million cases of coronavirus, while 191,791 people have died after contracting the disease.

The global death toll currently stands at 909,927, with 28,191,178 confirmed cases.

More about: | United States | Donald Trump | Coronavirus | New York City | Missouri | South Carolina

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