Teachers try to persuade an anti-mask protester that all students need to wear masks during a protest outside of a Broward County School Board meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Credit: Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

One week before school is set to begin, three Broward County Public Schools teachers and a teacher’s aide died in recent days from COVID-19 complications, Anna Fusco, elementary school teacher and Broward Teacher Union President, told CBS4 Miami.

“It was a sad day for three schools because our teachers walked back on campus with their principals and they got the news from their families that they wouldn’t be reporting because they passed away from COVID,” Fusco said.

Three were unvaccinated, Fusco said. She was not sure whether the fourth person was vaccinated.

The teachers did not contract the virus at school, according to Fusco. Some had family members who had contracted the virus and spread it to them.

The teacher’s aide and one of the teachers were teachers from the same school. One of the teachers who died taught elementary school, and the other was a high school teacher, according to Fusco. She did not provide the names of schools or teachers.

“It’s extremely frightening. I hear this every day. Whether in Broward or elsewhere. We’re the fifth largest union in the country,” said Fusco.

Since August 1, 138 Broward County Public Schools employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school COVID-19 dashboard. Thirteen students have tested positive in the same period.

The Broward school board recently voted 8-1 in support of a face mask mandate, defying Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has ordered schools not to make masks mandatory.

Story by Madeleine Romance, Miami Herald