A South Carolina teacher died from COVID-19, and although the elementary school she taught at was practicing online learning, her family said she had to go into school because of state-mandated guidelines. Margie Kidd, 71, had taught at Ridgeland Elementary School for more than 20 years, but she died on Sept. 28 due to complications of COVID-19.
This past Monday, some students were set to return to in-person classes after having started the year online, but Kidd had been teaching online since kids returned virtually in August.
“She expressed to us several times about her concerns with being back in the building with COVID-19 numbers still being high in South Carolina, but she had no choice because the teachers were required to attend in-person meetings as well as set up their classrooms, even though they were going to be doing virtual learning,” Kidd’s daughter, Essa Jackson, told the Savannah Morning News.
The school district had required teachers to do in-person assessments before classes began, as per state guidelines.
“My mom took precautions by wearing a mask, face shield and gloves, but it just wasn’t enough to keep her safe,” Jackson told the paper. “She started having COVID-19 symptoms by her second week at work, including cough, headache, fever and shortness of breath. She went to the hospital and was released the next day, but was told she tested positive for COVID-19.”
Jackson added that her mom was admitted back to the hospital on Aug. 18 and her health deteriorated from there. She was put on a breathing machine and died weeks later. Her family said they believe her being at school had something to do with her contracting the coronavirus.
“She was very afraid of going back to work and catching COVID-19, but she felt like she didn’t have a choice because she needed to work to pay her bills because my father was just getting over having colon cancer and heart surgery this summer, so she was the only one working,” Jackson said.
The Jasper County School District released a statement after Kidd's death, calling her "a most beloved member of our school district family."
"She served the people of Jasper County as a professional educator for 26 years. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and co-workers at RES. Grief counselors are available to her coworkers and students who need help processing this difficult news. We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers," the district said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the district, Travis Washington, said they have no other comment outside of their statement.