It’s getting harder to see how the upcoming school year will be anything other than distance learning. 

If ventilation is key—outdoors providing the ultimate in this—then a lot of schools are going to have issues. In this case at least, masking/distancing/disinfecting wasn’t enough—and all this was without students present.

For Gregorich’s district in a tiny town about 100 miles east of Phoenix, the idea of reopening now is tempered by how the disease has hit home.

“We’re going to lose a lot of teachers if they bring the kids back again,” he said.

He said Byrd, a first-grade teacher, was teaching summer school virtually in a team of three in the same room when she and the other teachers got sick. The team used their own computers, disinfected their equipment, sat apart from each other and wore masks, he said.

But all three contracted COVID-19, and Byrd died. Byrd, he said, was a master teacher. An online tribute calls her a “one-of-a-kind teacher.”