School officials: Teresa Sperry, who died of coronavirus complications, didn't escort kids to nurse

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 18:09:58-04

SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - An investigation found that a Virginia fifth-grader who died of coronavirus complications last month did not escort sick classmates to the nurse, according to school administrators.

Suffolk Public Schools officials investigated whether 10-year-old Teresa Sperry had been walking with sick classmates, against the staff’s COVID-19 protocol, after her parents said she was picked for the classroom job a week before she died, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The Hillpoint Elementary School student died Sept. 27 at a Norfolk hospital. Her symptoms began five days earlier with a headache, but escalated quickly, her parents said.

The nurse recalled Teresa walking with a student who hurt his ankle on the playground, but not for children with cold symptoms, schools spokeswoman Anthonette Ward said.

“Our staff did adhere to the protocol,” Ward said. “If a student is sick, an administrator comes and walks them down. That part was upheld.”

Jeff and Nicole Sperry, questioned how thoroughly school officials looked into it.

It’s unclear where the 10-year-old was exposed to the virus. Virginia Department of Health spokeswoman Brookie Crawford declined to confirm that a contact-tracing investigation was conducted or if the agency knew where Teresa was exposed, citing privacy reasons.