FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth ISD has confirmed that two of its staff passed away this week due to COVID-19.
It is not clear whether any of the staff members have contracted COVID-19 on campus or have underlying health issues.
One of the two deaths appears to have occurred on Monday, September 13, according to a Facebook post from Southwest High School.
Richard Zarza was an engineering and robotics teacher the school district said passed away from COVID-19 after teaching for four years at Southwest High.
Principal John Engle said, “Richard was a great educator. His passion for student success was evident in every part of our engineering program. His legacy will live on through the countless lives he has influenced.”
The name of the other staff and the school where the person worked was not disclosed by the school district.
“Devastating. “It is absolutely devastating when an employee dies from social distancing, wearing a mask, a disease that can be prevented by vaccines,” said Steven Poole, Executive Director of the United Association of Educators.
Since the start of the year, there have been 476 positive employee cases in Fort Worth ISD, and there is no consistent mask requirement.
Poole said this is a frightening reality many teachers face.
“Every time they enter the classroom, they put their health at risk,” she said.
This year, he said, they’ve been getting more calls than ever from teachers asking questions to end their contracts.
“I can see teacher turnover increasing not just in Fort Worth, but in other counties across the state. This is something we will have to live with with long-term effects.”