N.C. teacher dies of COVID-19 days after diagnosis

State News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A Fayetteville charter school community is mourning the loss of a teacher who recently died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Mary Ward was a visual arts teacher at Capitol Encore Academy, the school said. Superintendent Will Kneer said she was “a bit of the glue that kept our school together.”

“She was a bit of the glue that kept our school together, moral wise,” Kneer said. “Was just a wonderful human being and someone that a lot of our staff and students relied on.”

The school said it is dealing with the loss of the teacher as a family and as a community.

Mary Ward. (Courtesy of Capitol Encore Academy)

“We are trying to make the best decisions possible moving forward in everyone’s best interest,” Kneer said.

The school’s board of directors plan to meet Monday evening to decide on how to move forward.

Capitol Encore Academy is a public charter school serving about 600 children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The school went back to in-person learning in phases starting back in October but have since shifted to virtual learning.

“We had a limited number of students that had been coming in for face to face instruction. We tried to keep those class counts low, but as of right now through Thursday we have postponed that,” Kneer said.

The school said about 90 students are in quarantine who were in proximity to the teacher. No other positive COVID-19 cases have been reported.

“I think it’s a tough year on everyone whether you own one of these shops or you’re a parent or you work in a school or a bank, everybody’s life is a bit different and no one is quite sure how to operate within the pandemic going on,” Kneer said. “Just try to keep your head on your shoulders and do what’s best and do what’s right by other folks and everything will work out in the end.”

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