A school district is looking into the claims of the parents of a 10-year-old girl who died of COVID-19 complications due to her exposure to other sick children. The parents said that their daughter's teacher tasked her to nurse the sick kids and gather their stuff if they were to be sent home.
Teresa Sperry died of COVID-19 on September 27, after she exhibited the symptoms five days prior. Her parents, Nicole and Jerry Sperry said that her symptoms started with a headache.
Nicole and Jerry also said that Teresa assisted sick students at the Hillpoint Elementary School because the teacher gave her the job. School authorities said that the Suffolk Public Schools district protocol is for the adults to take care of the sick kids by either asking the school nurse to fetch the child in the classroom or for the teachers to take them to the clinic.
"We are still investigating to ensure that this process was followed with fidelity," the school officials said in an email to The Washington Post.
Parents Posted on Social Media
The public got wind of Teresa's case after her parents posted on Facebook that the 10-year-old was "required" to help out the sick students. Nicole also wrote that her daughter would still be alive if other parents would stop sending their sick children to school.
According to the Daily Beast, Nicole and Jerry had been vaccinated against COVID-19, and they had followed the protocols to protect their daughter, who could not be vaccinated yet due to her age. For instance, they had chosen to drive Teresa to school instead of making her take the school bus to limit her exposure.
The parents said that they hoped other people would take the threats of COVID-19 seriously. Nicole said it upsets her when some people are still nonchalant about it while preparing for Teresa's funeral. Jerry said that her daughter was a happy and strong child. COVID-19 took her in a matter of five days.
Meanwhile, the school district has sent letters to parents to announce the tragic death of the 10-year-old to COVID-19. However, the Sperry family said that they did not receive as much as a phone call from any of the school officials.
Contact Tracing Underway
The Virginia Department of Health has conducted contact tracing following Teresa's death, but it's still unclear how the girl got her infection. The contact tracers have been interviewing people who have recently been positive. About 31 percent of those in Teresa's bubble have been interviewed, including her family, as of October 4.
According to The Virginia Pilot, Teresa is the second child to have died from COVID-19 in the Eastern Virginia locale, while 13 other children have died through the state since the pandemic started. Children's cases ticked up between August and September with more admission of children at various hospitals, including the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters.
Meanwhile, vaccination for children between the ages of 5 to 11 could likely begin by the end of October. Pfizer has submitted data of their trials to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early this month.
Related Article: Trial for COVID-19 Vaccines for Toddlers Gives Parents Peace of Mind
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