An elementary school teacher <a href=”https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-09-09-20-intl/index.html” target=”_blank”>died of coronavirus complications</a> a week into the start of the school year in South Carolina.
Demetria Bannister <a href=”http://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-09-10-20-intl/index.html” target=”_blank”>was diagnosed with the virus</a> Friday and died Monday. The 28-year-old had taught at the Windsor Elementary School in Columbia for five years, CNN affiliate <a href=”https://www.wistv.com/2020/09/09/third-grade-teacher-richland-two-school-district-dies-covid-/” target=”_blank”>WIS reported</a>. She started her third year of teaching third-grade students virtually on August 31.
In addition to teaching, Bannister was also passionate about music, and worked with the school choir in various projects. She also hosted a student club for aspiring singers.
“Known as Windsor’s Songbird, Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school,” said Denise Quickel, principal of Windsor Elementary.
At a school attendance event last year, she wrote a song about the importance of not missing classes to the tune of “Old Town Road,” the popular song by rapper Lil Nas X.
“The song and video were a big hit with our school family,” Quickel said. “Ms. Bannister loved her students and never missed an opportunity to advocate for students and public education.”
She was at the school on August 28
The school district was notified <a href=”http://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-09-09-20-intl/index.html” target=”_blank”>that she tested positive for coronavirus</a> Friday. It followed the procedures for disinfecting, contact tracing and notification of close contacts.
The contact tracing and notification were based on the date she was last at the elementary school, which was August 28, the school district said. She started the school year three days later teaching her students virtually from home.
“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,” said Baron R. Davis, superintendent for Richland School District Two.
School district officials said her parents allowed them to share the information to remind others of coronavirus risks. Employees and students at Windsor Elementary School are getting counseling services.
Since January, health authorities have identified more than 6.3 million Covid-19 cases and nearly 191,000 deaths in the United States. South Carolina has had more than 126,000 infections and over 2,900 deaths.
CNN’s Chenelle Terry contributed to this report