A 28 year-old teacher has died of coronavirus just a fortnight after she returned to school to begin teaching for the new academic year.
Demetria Bannister, from Columbia in South Carolina, was diagnosed with Covid-19 last Friday, and died on Monday.
`The third grade teacher – who also led the choir at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia – had last been in school on August 28.
Demetria and her colleagues had been preparing for the new school year, which began on August 31. She had been taking virtual lessons after her school district decided to begin the year with all-online classes.
It is not known where Demetria picked up the disease that ultimately killed her, with a deep-clean now underway at Windsor Elementary.
Contact tracers are also working to identify any colleagues Demetria may have come into contact with while prepping for the academic year at her school.
AD Baron Davis, superintendent for the Richland 2 district which included Demetria’s school, paid tribute to her. He said: ‘While gone from us too soon, Ms Bannister’s legacy lives on through the lives of the students she taught in her five years as a dedicated education.’
South Carolina has recorded more than 124,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 2,000 deaths.
How to reopen schools safely has been one of the most hotly-debated issues of the coronavirus crisis in recent months.
Scientists believe children are at relatively low risk of serious complications from Covid-19. But teachers and other school workers say placing them in small, often poorly-ventilated classrooms with dozens of children increases their risk of contracting coronavirus, which can prove deadly for older adults or those with underlying health conditions.
Meanwhile, many parents have complained about the poor quality of some teachers’ online lessons. And virtual classes are also feared to discriminate against children from impoverished or abusive backgrounds, who may not have the resources and support they need to make the best of them.
President Trump is among those pushing for schools to reopen for in-person learning.