Teresa’s Covid symptoms started with a headache on Wednesday, September. 22 and a fever the next day. After consulting the family’s pediatrician, who is part of the network of the Daughters of the King’s Children’s Hospital on Friday September 24, they set up a Covid test for the following Monday September 27.
On Sunday evening however, Teresa developed a nagging cough, so severe that she forced her to vomit, so Nicole took her to a local emergency room where she was tested for strep throat, which returned. negative, as well as a Covid but these results were pending.
Within 24 hours, she stopped breathing and was rushed to a local hospital and eventually transferred to the King’s Daughters’ Hospital (CHKD) Norfolk where she died.
Parents plead to end school mask mandate
Monday, as Nicole sat next to her child’s lifeless body in the emergency room, trying to figure out how quickly they had lost their beloved daughter, less than 10 miles down the road in the district school where Nicole teaches, a school board meeting was held at which parents pleaded for the district to drop its mandate as a mask. Comments like “We didn’t know anything about Covid at first, but now we know, we know that there is (Covid) nothing to worry about if you are healthy”, and “Covid is indeed over”, can be heard on camera during the meeting.
“At the same time as I was at my daughter’s bedside, the Chesapeake Public Schools were having a school council meeting and some friends came back and told me later that while I was sitting next to my daughter, who was no longer with us, there were adult parents there who were basically saying that Covid is over and healthy people don’t die, especially children, ”Nicole said.
“And I’m setting there next to my dead daughter who was perfectly healthy, who’s a kid who did everything she was supposed to do. ”
A “perfectly healthy girl”
Other than a broken arm when she was younger, Teresa was a healthy, social and happy 10-year-old girl who never had the flu or even an ear infection, Nicole said.
An avid reader, intelligent, good-looking, loving and always ready to help and care for others is how Jeff described his daughter, but it was by helping nature that the couple believe they contributed to her death.
“One of the things she told us before she got sick was that her job was to be the class nurse to take sick children from class to the nurses office,” Jeff said. . “And you have to understand my daughter, that’s who she is, helping people is my daughter, that’s not something she wouldn’t have wanted to do.” ”
At Hillpoint Elementary School, the protocol is for the teacher or an adult to contact the main office with a “Code C” if a child is feeling ill and one of the administrators, or a school nurse will come to the classroom to pick up. the student, Dr John B. Gordon, III, head of the Suffolk Public Schools division, told CNN last Thursday.
“We are still investigating to make sure this process was followed faithfully,” he said.
“Our daughter was in perfect health,” Nicole wrote on Facebook. And she would have continued to be here if people had stopped sending their sick children to school. “
After spending time in virtual learning last year, Nicole said Teresa was looking forward to returning to class this school year.
“Every kid grows up saying ‘I hate school’ and they are (the Sperry kids) the first generation of kids who grew up and now say ‘I wish I could be in school, I missed school , I miss my friends, ”said Jeff.
In Teresa’s class in particular, there were no cases of Covid, Gordon told CNN.
“There was no case before the tragedy with Teresa, and there has been no case since my communication with you. Contact tracing is still in progress. ”
While the number of children testing positive for Covid-19 declined slightly, children made up a higher percentage of total new Covid-19 cases in the United States in the most recent week compared to the week previous, accounting for almost 27% of all reported cases nationwide. , the American Academy of Pediatrics reported on Monday.
“Covid is real and it doesn’t matter who it takes”
As of Friday, the Virginia Department of Health recorded a total of 12 child and adolescent deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic, Logan Anderson, spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health, told CNN. Teresa’s death brings the number to 13.
Five of those deaths were in the 0-9 age group and eight in the 10-19 age category, she said.
“People, they have to step up and take this more seriously,” Nicole said. “It’s about showing compassion for others. It doesn’t take much to wear a mask or get vaccinated if you are medically capable. ”
In a letter to families of Suffolk Public School students on Tuesday, Gordon announced Teresa’s death, but did not name her.
“I’m her mother and this sorry apology for a letter shouldn’t have been posted without at least one phone call from her,” Nicole wrote on Facebook. “I won’t hide anymore. My beautiful daughter was taken from me because people are too selfish to care about what might happen to others. I wasn’t. We weren’t. We wore our mask because there are too many in our tribe that are in danger. My daughter was not in danger. And now she’s gone. ”
“Suffolk Public Schools are heartbroken over the tragic loss of one of our students, Teresa Sperry,” Gordon said in a statement to CNN Thursday. “We intend to support the family, the school and our entire school community during this very difficult time.
“We will continue to follow our mitigation strategies of wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing. The school division also encourages vaccination of staff and students (if they are eligible). ”
A friend has set up a PayPal fund to help cover unforeseen funeral costs, which the Sperrys say will be planned after Jeff’s quarantine ends.
“We did everything we could have done and now we have lost part of our heart,” Nicole wrote on Facebook. The Covid is real and it doesn’t matter who it takes. ”