MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools has identified a teacher who recently died as Ashley Leatherwood.
Leatherwood’s family said she died after contracting COVID-19 in the classroom.
The family spoke with FOX13 over the phone but would not go on camera due to privacy concerns.
Leatherwood worked at Riverwood Elementary and was reportedly a second-grade teacher.
In a message to parents, SCS said Leatherwood was a valuable member of the team who will be missed dearly.
SCS said counselors will be onsite at the school to help students, teachers and staff process the tragedy.
Parents can contact SCS if their child needs emotional support, the message said.
“Together we will remain strong,” SCS said.
The district said it will provide more information as it becomes available.
SCS would not provide personal details on Leatherwood’s death.
“We share our deepest condolences with the family during this time,” the district said in a statement.
SCS will not release specific details about positive COVID-19 cases in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those impacted, officials said.
The district is exploring options for a COVID-19 weekly dashboard.
SCS there are 132 students who tested positive for the virus, and 62 teachers and staff.
One parent, whose daughter is in the 4th grade at Riverwood, said she’s concerned because her daughter has asthma, an underlying health condition.
LaQuita Smith said her daughter is home after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
“I took her to the emergency room because my baby could barely walk,” Smith said. “She had a high fever of 103.7.”
Smith said learning of Leatherwood’s death made her angry.
Leatherwood’s family said she had underlying health issues. She suffered from kidney disease and was on dialysis.
Smith said she thinks the school needs to be shut down completely.
“I think we need to go back to virtual,” she said. “I’m no longer willing to try with SCS. My daughter is safer at home than she is at school.”
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