Arizona Teacher Dies From COVID-19 After Sharing Classroom With Two Others


Three teachers from Arizona who shared a classroom together over the summer all contracted COVID-19. One of the teachers, Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died from the virus on June 26, less than two weeks after being hospitalized. The other two teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, are still dealing with complications from the infection.

Martinez said that she continues to be fatigued and has shortness of breath, though she has since tested negative for the coronavirus. Skillings thought she was recovering, but her cough returned, and she tested positive again for the virus last week.

The three teachers were using the classroom to conduct nature experiments for young students to watch online. They wore masks and gloves and followed social distancing guidelines. There were no students at the school during the online lessons.

"Kim... led her life based on her faith," Martinez told CNN. "She was what I would call a giver -- giver of knowledge, a giver of kindness -- [a] compassionate person, a strong person who stood by her values. And she was bold when she needed to speak up when there was an injustice or something that needed to be heard, especially when it came to children. ... She was fun, she was adventurous. She was just a true loving person all the way around."

Arizona has become a hotbed for the coronavirus pandemic over the past month. The state has reported a total of 122,467 confirmed cases and 2,237 deaths. More than 1/3 of those cases have been reported in July.

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