The COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic, has brought about a lot of changes leaving millions of Americans to adapt to the new reality of the public health crisis. As schools re-open for a new school year, many parents have become divided on whether or not they should allow their children to attend classes or opt for remote learning until the viral outbreak is contained. With the death of six teachers across five states, many parents and school administrators are questioning if in-class sessions are safe.
According to the Washington Post, at least six teachers have died as a result of the coronavirus since early August. One of those teachers was Demetria Bannister, a third-grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School based in Columbia, South Carolina, who had been working as an educator for five years and died this week.
“I want to express my sincere condolences to Ms. Bannister’s parents, relatives, friends, and school family,” Dr. Baron Davis, Richland County School District Two Superintendent, said in a statement according to WIS News.
“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 educator. To honor Ms. Bannister’s memory I ask the Richland Two family to join me in reaffirming our commitment to doing all we can to provide premier learning experiences for all students in the safest environment possible and doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
In Oxford, Mississippi, Nacoma James, who worked as the football coach, died of COVID-19 in early August. He has just arrived at the campus after spending the summer coaching at football practices. The sudden death left many students in shock as the coach was loved throughout the school.
“In my 30 years in education and the last 12 as a superintendent, I’ve lost more sleep over keeping kids safe than anything,” said district superintendent Adam Pugh said in the Mississippi Today. “Does all this have me worried? Absolutely. I want to keep all of our students as safe as I possibly can. This all worries me a great deal.”