Three educators from Miami-Dade County Public Schools have died within a week due to COVID-19, the teachers union confirmed Wednesday.
Karla Hernandez-Mats, the president of the United Teacher of Dade, said it appears the teachers got sick before the start of the school year but is still waiting to confirm that. They were not vaccinated.
"I can tell you that these were phenomenal human beings. These are people that dedicated their lives to serving our community," Hernandez-Mats said.
Schools and COVID
Among those who passed was beloved math teacher Abe Coleman, who had been with the district for more than 30 years. He was also a mentor with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.
"We're going to be grieving for a while," Hernandez-Mats said. "As a teacher, I have to make sure the message is that we're teaching our community to be safe, to continue to socially distance, to wash your hands, but please, get vaccinated."
Miami-Dade Public School released a statement saying, “The loss of any of our employees is one that is always profoundly felt as every member of this organization is considered a part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools family. We extend our hearts and prayers to the loved ones of those whose lives have recently been lost.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the MDCPS school board and superintendent sent a letter to Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in response to his threats to get rid of the district’s mask requirement.
In the letter, the district doubled down on its position— one validated by a circuit judge in Tallahassee.
"We believe that the actions of this board comply with both the constitutional provisions as well as state statute by guaranteeing a safe, secure and healthy environment for both our students as well as the workforce," Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.
Carvalho said they are aware this may bring about consequences — as the commissioner threatened to withhold salaries— but said that's a small price to pay to ensure the health and safety of the students and teachers.
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