Teachers had just returned last month to prepare for the fall semester at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Mo., when 34-year-old AshLee DeMarinis started to feel ill.
DeMarinis had been worried about returning to work at the rural middle school, where she was starting her 11th year of teaching. She had asthma, which put her at a higher risk for complications from covid-19 despite her young age.
“She was scared,” her sister, Jennifer Heissenbuttel, told The Washington Post.
Three weeks later, DeMarinis died in the hospital after testing positive for the novel coronavirus and suffering from complications caused by the infection.
DeMarinis isn’t the only teacher to die amid the pandemic as children return to schools across the United States. Educators in Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, Iowa and Oklahoma have died as the fall semester started in their districts.