Just before she went to bed on Tuesday, Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown got word of yet another public school teacher who died this week as a result of COVID-19. Brown returned to what has now become a painful but familiar ritual since the pandemic first began.
"One of the very last things I did last night was write a note of sympathy," Brown said Wednesday. "Unless we get more mitigation measures in place, this is going to keep happening."
At least eight Tennessee public school employees – three elementary school teachers, one pre-K assistant, a cafeteria worker, a bus driver and two high school teachers – have died since the school year began after contracting COVID-19. The total is an imperfect tally of a grim statistic that no one government agency or private entity is monitoring in a systematic way.