A 10-year-old girl in Virginia has died of COVID-19 complications after she was potentially exposed to the virus while fulfilling her duties in school as the “class nurse,” her family claimed.
Teresa Sperry, a fifth-grader at Hillpoint Elementary School, had been tasked by her teacher with escorting her sick classmates to the school nurse before she came down with a headache and nagging cough herself, CNN reported.
“One of the things she told us before she got sick, was that her job was to be the ‘class nurse’ to take the sick kids from the class to the nurse’s office,” her father, Jeff Sperry, told the outlet.
“And you have to understand my daughter, this is who she is, helping people is my daughter, it’s not something that she wouldn’t have wanted to do.”
But her parents believe that it was her caring nature that ultimately led to her death.
She first began to feel sick on Sept. 22 and developed a fever the following day, her family said.
But just days later on Sept. 26, she began experiencing a cough so severe that her mother brought her to the emergency room, the outlet reported.
She was tested for strep throat and COVID-19, but was sent home to wait for the results, CNN reported.
“Her lungs were perfect, beautiful. They didn’t seem concerned,” her mother, Nicole Sperry, told the outlet.
But within a day, she stopped breathing and was brought to a local hospital before being transferred to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, where she died.
After her death, her family was notified that she had tested positive for the virus.
“We did everything we could have done and now we’ve lost a part of our hearts,” her mom wrote on Facebook. “Covid is real and it doesn’t care who it takes.”
Anthonette Ward, a Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman, said they’re working with health officials to contact trace in Sperry’s classroom, the Virginian Pilot reported.
Responding to the parents’ claims that Sperry was forced to be “class nurse,” Ward said that would have been a violation of the school’s protocol and the district is investigating.
“The protocol at Hillpoint Elementary School is for the classroom teacher or any adult to contact the main office with a Code ‘C.’ When this occurs, one of the administrators or school nurse will come to the classroom to pick up the student,” she said in an email. “We are still investigating to ensure that this process was followed with fidelity.”