Margie Kidd, a South Carolina teacher, died of COVID on September 28 after returning to school the previous month
Not even two months into the school year, and several teachers have already died due to COVID-19 infections. One of the latest casualties of the respiratory virus is Margie Kidd, a South Carolina teacher who lost her life on September 28. Her family hopes her death can serve as a warning, that despite wearing a mask and social distancing, going back to school can prove deadly.
According to Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls, Kidd, 71, who taught kindergarten and first grade for over 25 years, died as a result of COVID-19 complications, reports the Savannah Morning News.
“We lost a most beloved member of our school district family,” Travis Washington, Jasper County School District spokesperson said in a statement. “She served the people of Jasper County as a professional educator for 26 years.”
“My mom loved being a teacher because she loved working with kids and she genuinely cared about her students,” Jackson, one of Kidd’s daughters, said. “She always went above and beyond for her students and their families, and if she could help out, she would.”
Jackson explained that her mother returned to the classroom in August, where she started teaching remotely from her classroom. But, despite the fact that there were no students physically there, she was still worried. “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,” Jackson continued.
“My mom took precautions by wearing a mask, face shield and gloves, but it just wasn’t enough to keep her safe,” Jackson said. “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.”
By August 18 she was having more trouble breathing and was admitted back into the hospital. “Mom’s lungs deteriorated quickly and she was on a breathing machine,” she said. “At first we could not visit her because of the coronavirus and I think that made her depressed, but once the doctors realized how serious her situation was, we were allowed to visit her in the observation unit. She could only have one visitor per day and we had to be covered head to toe in protective gear.”
“The first time I saw my mom was Sept. 7 and it was heartbreaking,” she said. “She had lost weight and she looked so little and helpless, all hooked up to machines, lying in her hospital bed. That night, we found out that her condition had gotten worse and she was placed on a ventilator. That was the last day she was conscious.”
A week later, Kidd was in the ICU, and her family was notified she had just a few days to live. “My mom’s doctors were planning to take her off the ventilator on Sept. 29 because she’d been on the ventilator for 21 days, but she passed away on the night of the 28th,” she said.
Jackson and her family believe that physically being in the school building was responsible for her infection. Sadly, she wasn’t given an option of working from home, and felt forced to return to work due to financial reasons. “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,” she said.
Jackson wants to remember her mother’s smile and warm spirit. “She loved telling jokes and texting funny memes to her family and friends every day,” she said. “She will truly be missed by so many people.”
Others, including her coworkers, said that she was a great educator. “To know her was to love her,” said LaQuandra Stevenson, who worked with her for 15 years. “She was a mentor to me and others who were new to education years ago. I also had the great honor of having her teach my son, Khadir. She helped him not only grow academically, but socially as well.”
She especially left a mark in the lives of her students, including Troy White who was in Kidd’s kindergarten class during the 1995-96 school year. “I remember my first time reading a book was in her class and I’ll always remember that because that’s where my desire to read began,” he said. “She made learning fun and I enjoyed going to school.”
Jackson hopes that her mother’s death will encourage others to take the virus seriously, and that it is not anything remotely of a “blessing from God,” as declared by Trump. “I would like for people to stop saying that COVID-19 isn’t that serious, because it is,” she said. “My mom was older, but she was a very active senior and to watch her health decline in such a short period was devastating. You may not get sick or show symptoms, but you should take precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus because it’s serious and it kills.”
When debating whether to send our children back to school, many people only think about the health of their children. While it might be true that the chances of a serious COVID-19 infection in a child are slim, we also need to consider the health of everyone working in the educational system. Teachers, as well as students, should always have an option to whether they want to return to the classroom. Period.