At least three teachers in three states have died due to complications of Covid-19 in recent weeks, according to reports from CNN and local media outlets.
AshLee DeMarinis, a 34-year-old middle school teacher in at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Missouri, died Sunday at Missouri Baptist Medical Center after battling complications related to Covid-19 for three weeks, CNN affiliate KMOV reported.
“Our district has been informed that one of our beloved teachers, Ms. AshLee DeMarinis, has passed away,” superintendent Alex McCaul and other administrators said in a letter notifying the school community of her death. “Ms. DeMarinis was a wonderful teacher loved by students, staff and members of our community. Her commitment and passion for her students and community to succeed should be an inspiration for all of us.”
While McCaul would not confirm that DeMarinis, a social skills teacher, had passed away due to Covid-19, he told CNN that contact tracers had come to the school where DeMarinis taught, as was required by the local health department, and determined that she hadn’t had close contact with any teachers, staff or students. Students had not returned to the classrooms at John Evans Middle School when DeMarinis first became ill.
Thomas Slade, a teacher at Vancleave High School in Jackson County, Mississippi, for 13 years died last week, district superintendent John Strycker said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It is with a heavy heart that I send this letter to you. This past week, our school family lost one of our staff members — Vancleave High School teacher, Mr. Thomas Slade,” Strycker wrote. “Slade served the Jackson County School District honorably and with distinction as department chairman and history teacher at Vancleave High School. He was truly the personification of a public servant, devoting his life and career to serving the community where he was raised.”
CNN affiliate WLOX reported that Slade died on Sunday due to complications related to Covid-19.
Students began returning to the classroom in Jackson County on Aug. 6, according to the school district’s reopening guide.
CNN previously reported that a third grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, died on Monday from complications caused by Covid-19, according to a news release from Richland School District Two, which shared the information about the teacher’s death with permission from her parents, “who wish to remind others about the seriousness of this disease caused by the coronavirus.”
According to the school district, Demetria “Demi” Bannister began her teaching career five years ago and had just started her third year of teaching third grade.
Bannister’s last day at Windsor Elementary School was Aug. 28, the last workday for teachers before starting the school year teaching her students virtually from her home Aug. 31.