FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An instructional assistant at an eastern Kentucky elementary school died from COVID-19 as the fast-spreading delta variant has sparked outbreaks in several school districts.
Heather Antle, an aide at Lee County Elementary, died Sunday. Antle was an involved member of the school community who “brought great joy to the students and staff that she worked with,” Lee County Superintendent Sarah Wasson said in a statement posted to social media.
The Lee County district canceled in-person classes until Sept. 7 in response to coronavirus cases among students and teachers. Virus outbreaks have caused disruptions since the school year began.
Several other Kentucky school districts have shut down classes for multiple days due to virus outbreaks.
Gov. Andy Beshear, while expressing condolences to Antle's family, urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated and wear masks to prevent the virus's spread in schools.
“There was a time when some argued COVID did not spread in schools," the governor said on social media. "That time should be over.”
“We must do everything in our power to prevent the spread of this virus in our schools, and vaccinations and masks are our greatest tools," he added. “Let’s do what’s right for our teachers.”