Third-grade teacher dies of COVID-19 while students were in quarantine
© Stanly County Schools

A third-grade teacher in North Carolina died over the weekend following a recent COVID-19 diagnosis, roughly two months after the school district resumed some in-person classes.

The Stanly County School District confirmed that Julie Davis died after two years of teaching at Norwood Elementary School, saying the instructor had a “well-deserved reputation as an inspirational teacher who was always seeking ways to support every student so that they were able to fulfill their potential.”

“Students absolutely loved being taught by Mrs. Davis. Her personality was infectious and she brought joy into the lives of the students, staff, and community,” interim superintendent Vicki Calvert wrote in a statement. “We are extending our deepest condolences to Mrs. Davis’ family. We were truly blessed by her professionalism and caring spirit.”

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“She loved everybody,” her daughter Leanna Richardson told local outlet WSOC-TV. “She cared about everybody. She didn’t know a stranger. … You couldn’t be in a room with my mom and not laugh.”

The school district resumed some in-person classes roughly two months ago.

Michelle Bailey, a spokeswoman for the school district, told CNN that Davis began experiencing symptoms on Sept. 25 and immediately self-quarantined.

On Sept. 29, the Stanly County Health Department notified parents of the teacher's third-grade class that they were required to quarantine for 14 days after being exposed to a staff member who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bailey confirmed that Davis was the staff member who was diagnosed with the virus.

None of the quarantined students have developed any symptoms or tested positive, Bailey said. The health department reportedly told officials that it believed Davis did not contract the virus from the school.

Davis's brother, Stan Andrews, told WSOC-TV that he was upset at the claim that his sister did not get sick after returning to in-person work.

“She told me when I talked to her that she had definitely gotten it from the school,” he said.

Davis’s husband and son have both tested negative for COVID-19, but remain in quarantine, meaning the family cannot grieve together.

Her family said Davis, who was a grandmother who also cared for her 74-year-old mother, was nervous about returning to the classroom during the pandemic because she could endanger her loved ones.

“She did everything she could never to endanger them,” said Richardson. “She did Walmart pick up since the beginning of the pandemic until the end of her life. She wore her mask everywhere she went. And it’s not that they [the school district] are necessarily to blame, but they cannot confirm without a doubt that she did not get it from being in the classroom.”