(CNN) – A Texas high school teacher who died of COVID-19 was nervous about going back to school because of the delta variant, her sister told CNN.
Natalia Chansler, a sixth grade Social Studies teacher at Connally Junior High School in Elm Mott, Texas, died of complications linked to COVID-19 on Aug. 28, just days after testing positive for the virus, according to an email. Sent to parents by the Connally Independent School District (Connally ISD).
Chansler, 41, did not get vaccinated because she had underlying health problems and was trying to decide which vaccine would be best for her, her older sister, Annice Chansler, told CNN New Day on Friday.
“He was about to get vaccinated and then of course this happened,” Annice Chansler said. “And then she really thought more, ‘Okay, when I get better I’m going to go ahead and get vaccinated.’ But of course, she died before that.”
August 25 was the last day Chansler was on campus, according to the district.
Annice Chansler said her sister wore a mask even though there is no mask mandate in the district. Connally ISD recommends the use of masks for students and staff.
Chansle said her sister was nervous during the first wave of COVID-19 infections, adding: “When the variant came, she was even more nervous. But she had to work. She had no other choice.”
On Monday, Connally ISD closed all district schools after school in response to the deaths of Natalia Chansler and David A. McCormick, 59, who taught social studies in the seventh grade in high school.
McCormick died of COVID-19 on August 24 and was on campus for the last time on August 18, which was the first day of school, according to the district.
None of the teachers have been identified as having close contact with a covid-19 positive person on campus, and the district has no definitive evidence of how they contracted the virus, the woman told CNN in an email late Wednesday night. Connally ISD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Jill Bottelberghe.
The district serves the cities of Lacy Lakeview and Waco, and the communities of Elm Mott, Chalk Bluff, and Gholson.
The closure would give the district an opportunity to thoroughly clean and disinfect all of its facilities and hopefully give anyone exposed to the virus a chance to isolate themselves and recover, the district said in its announcement.
He also canceled all extracurricular activities, including high school football games.
Face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, after Labor Day.
The district said the two teachers were loved and described their deaths as heartbreaking. District administrators brought in counselors to support the students and help them cope with the loss.
Bottelberghe said that, as of Aug. 30, 165 positive cases of covid-19 had been reported, with more cases identified in Wednesday’s tests.
During a car testing session on Wednesday morning for staff, students and community members, there was a 26% positivity rate, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.
Annice Chansler said Natalia was the youngest of her 10 siblings and described her as “fun loving” and “the best little sister you could have.”
He said his sister was quiet, but had a welcoming personality.
“The students, the parents, anyone who came across Natalia, they immediately liked her and they liked her personality,” he said.
McLennan County, Texas, where the district is located, has had 34,951 confirmed cases and 547 deaths from covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Annice Chansler says that some of her family members who were reluctant to get the vaccine are now getting vaccinated.
“They made that change and I’m very proud of them for doing it. I hate that it took Natalia’s passing for them to understand how important it is, but I’m glad they did,” she said.