Arkansas elementary school teacher dies from COVID-19

Empty school classroom.
Empty school classroom.(Source: Pixabay)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 3:11 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas teacher died from COVID-19, her husband said Friday, the second coronavirus death from the state’s public schools this week.

Susanne Michael, 47, an elementary school teacher from Harrisburg, died Thursday night at a hospital from complications from COVID-19, her husband Keith Michael said. He said his wife had been hospitalized since Sept. 15, the day after she tested positive for the virus.

Michael’s death comes days after the superintendent of the Atkins School District died from COVID-19. Arkansas' schools reopened on Aug. 24.

“Her students loved her,” Keith Michael said. “I would be somewhere with her at the store and her kids would come up running up to her and hug her. She just had a way with kids.”

The Harrisburg School District said in a Facebook post that she “was an outstanding teacher who cared very deeply about the success and wellbeing of each and every one of her students.”

Arkansas has had 1,384 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began. It ranks sixth in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Arkansas is requiring its public schools to be open five days a week for in-person instructions, though they can also offer virtual or hybrid options.

Harrisburg has had 20 coronavirus cases among its students, teachers and faculty since June 15, according to the Department of Health, with six active cases. There are 698 active cases in the state’s public schools.

Dozens of Little Rock teachers didn’t show up for in-person classes Monday after the local teachers' union said its members would only teach virtually. The union called off its demand on Monday night.

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