The parents of a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died from COVID-19 in September are demanding answers after finding out that their daughter was designated "class nurse" in the days leading up to her untimely death.
Teresa Sperry, 10, died of COVID-19 on Sept. 27.
What are the details?
Days before her death, her fifth grade teacher designated Teresa to be the "class nurse," which according to a report from the Washington Post, meant that she was "in charge of walking sick classmates to the nurse's office, waiting for them to be treated, and, at times, returning to the classroom to retrieve their backpacks" if school officials determined the children ought to be sent home.
Her father, Jeff Sperry, told the outlet that his daughter told him that she'd taken several people to the nurse's station for assessment on just one given day.
“I asked her, ‘So is this your job?’" Sperry recalled asking his daughter. “And she gave me several examples of people that day she took to the nurse’s office.”
Sperry said that he was furious that the teacher would foist upon his daughter such a responsibility without his or his wife's knowledge and approval.
Teresa, who was not yet old enough to be vaccinated against COVID-19, soon returned home from school with a headache, and soon after, a fever.
Within a week, Teresa was dead.
"Of all the people in the world who could have done that job, [Teresa] was unprotected," he said.
What else is happening here?
According to the report, an investigation into the school found that a teacher assigned Teresa the class nurse job on Sept. 21.
The teacher, who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting, denied that Teresa was asked to escort sick students to the nurse's office and said that the child "never accompanied students who exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus to the clinic," but instead escorted children with various minor injuries — such as an arm injury and a twisted ankle. The investigation added that Teresa escorted just two children to the nurse's office between Sept. 21 and Sept. 23.
“Additionally, it was determined that students suspected of possible COVID-19 symptoms are escorted to the designated isolation space by the school nurse or school administration,” the report added. “Teresa never escorted students to the clinic who exhibited COVID-19 like symptoms.”
The report, according to the Post, stated that Teresa was also the first child in the class to test positive for COVID-19.
Teresa's mother, Nicole Sperry, told the outlet that she doesn't believe school officials are being honest, and said that she and her husband were initially forced to file a public records request to obtain a copy of the investigative report into the school's purported actions. Unhappy with the outcome, the Sperrys are demanding the administration embark on a new probe into the allegations.
“They aren’t being honest,” Teresa said. “What Teresa told us does not match the report.”
“How many times did they make her do this?” Jeff added. “The thing I want from them is the truth. What happened? So I can stop worrying about it and stop thinking about it.”
A spokesperson for the district declined to answer questions sent by The Post, but stated that Suffolk Public Schools “cannot comment on any particular student or how Suffolk Public Schools addresses the health needs of any particular student.”
“However, Suffolk Public Schools issued COVID-19 Guidelines to address and promote safety, health, and welfare of our students, employees, and our community,” the spokesperson added.
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