NORWOOD, N.C. (WBTV) - A Stanly County teacher died after recently contracting COVID-19, according to those close to her.
Stanly County Interim Superintendent Vicki Calvert confirmed that Julie Davis, a third-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary School, had died on Sunday.
“Stanly County Schools is deeply saddened and grieving the loss of Julie Davis,” Calvert said.
Those close to Davis told WBTV that Davis was recently hospitalized by the virus.
Calvert said Davis taught at the elementary school for two years and “earned a well-deserved reputation.”
“(She was) as an inspirational teacher who was always seeking ways to support every student so that they were able to fulfill their potential,” Calvert said. “She implemented creative ways of teaching and her high standards and expectations motivating others to achieve their best.”
Calvert said that students loved being taught by Davis in the classroom.
“Her personality was infectious and she brought joy into the lives of the students, staff, and community,” Calvert said. “We are extending our deepest condolences to Mrs. Davis' family. We were truly blessed by her professionalism and caring spirit.”
Calvert said Davis self-quarantined when she began to experience symptoms.
After the district received confirmation of the positive result, school nurses worked with health officials on contact tracing and determined the measures that needed to be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the interim superintendent.
Staff and students who were considered to be close contact were quarantined, but as of Sunday afternoon, no other staff members or students tested positive for the virus.
School officials say Davis did not contract the virus from the school.
“We have implemented a plan for responding to this tragic event focused on helping our students, their families, and our staff,” Calvert said. “This plan has evolved from the district’s experience with loss in the past and the advice of mental health professionals from the community. We know the students and staff will react in different ways to the death of one of our revered teachers. We all should expect and try to understand that there will be a variety of emotions and responses to what has occurred. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive and encourage the open expression of feelings.”
The district did confirm that a student did test positive before Sept. 7, but say Davis and that student did not have close contact and the student didn’t return to school after testing positive.
“We had a student in another grade level who quarantined before Labor Day due to a close contact in the community. The student later developed symptoms and tested positive,” officials said. “The student did not return to school before testing positive. Mrs. Davis and this particular student never had close contact with each other. In fact, they were in separate buildings.”
Anne McLean, who was a principal where Davis taught from 2010-2014 at Page Street Elementary in Montgomery County, says she doesn’t know of anyone who didn’t adore Davis.
“Julie was everyone’s friend," McLean said. "She was fun, funny and could always come up with a quip to lighten a tough situation. Her students were also her children and she never let a child go without something he or she needed. She was one of the most sincere, warm and compassionate people I’ve ever known. Her passing hurts my heart for all the children who won’t have her as a teacher but also for her family who shared her with school for 20-plus years.”
Here’s a timeline of what happened across the Stanly county school district:
- Aug. 17: Grades K-4th went back for in-person learning full-time.
- Sept. 29: The school district found out about Davis’s positive result and they notified Norwood Elementary families
- Sept. 29: Third-grade students were considered direct-contact cases and were told to quarantine until Oct. 9.
The district says, for now, those students are in remote learning.