FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth ISD has confirmed that two of its staff have died this week due to COVID-19.
It is not clear if any of the staff caught COVID-19 on campus or if they had any underlying health issues.
According to a Southwest High School Facebook post, it appears one of the two deaths occurred on Monday, September 13.
Richard Zarza was an engineering and robotics teacher, who the school district said died of COVID-19 after four years of teaching at Southwest High.
Principal John Engle said, “Richard was an amazing educator. His passion for student success was evident in every part of our engineering program. His legacy will live on through the many lives he touched.
The name of the other staff member and the school where that person worked was not disclosed by the school district.
“It’s devastating. Anytime an employee loses their life due to an illness that could be prevented by social distancing, wearing a mask, getting vaccines, it’s absolutely devastating, ”said Steven Poole, executive director of the United Educators Association.
So far this year, Fort Worth ISD has had 476 positive employee cases and no consistent mask warrant.
Poole said it’s a frightening reality that many teachers face.
“Every time they walk into the classroom, they put their health on the line,” he said.
He said they were getting more calls than usual this year from teachers asking for the end of their contracts.
“I can see teacher turnover increasing not only in Fort Worth, but in other districts across the state. This is something that we are going to have to live with for the long term. “