PSEA-SWR Education Support Personnel President: "We mourn the loss of our member due to these tragic circumstances."

JEANNETTE, Pa. (KDKA) — The Southwestern Region of the Pennsylvania State Education Association says one of their union members working in the Jeannette City School District has died from coronavirus.

Dana Hall, 56, died in the hospital on Sunday after her family says she contracted the virus.

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In a news release, PSEA Education Support Personnel President Terry Pajak said, “We mourn the loss of our member due to these tragic circumstances, and ask all our community to help us by keeping social distance, wearing masks and complying with public health recommendations.”

The PSEA-Southwestern Region says that as community infection rates continue to rise, “there is greater risk of staff and students contracting the virus in school.”

PSEA-SWR President Melissa Brant says, “PSEA has called on every school district in the state to follow state public health guidelines for school operations, including transitioning to remote learning when community spread reaches critical levels. Currently, all counties in Southwest Pennsylvania are in the substantial transmission category. We know that this opens the door for the virus to enter our schools and that can put staff who are older or have health conditions at risk. This is one important reason why the state public health guidelines recommend that schools in substantial counties transition to remote instruction.”

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The district canceled classes for Monday.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti contacted the Jeannette Area Education Association regarding word of a large number of teachers calling off, asking if it was part of a planned effort to get the district’s attention on coronavirus concerns. The union categorically denied the accusation.

The district released a statement from Superintendent Matthew Jones, who wrote the following:

“There will be a special emergency meeting of the Jeannette City School District School Board on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at 7 [p.m.] to discuss current events related to community COVID-19 infection rates and instructional options available to the district.”

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You can watch the meeting here.