September 11, 2020 -- Demetria Bannister, a third grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, died on Monday from complications for COVID-19, according to ABC affiliate WAPT.
Bannister, who went by “Demi,” was a well-loved teacher who had been in the classroom for five years. She was last at the school on Aug. 28 to prepare for the beginning of the school year and didn’t have any symptoms. A week later on Friday, Sept. 4, she tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized. The 28-year-old died three days later, according to CNN.
The district reopened on Aug. 31 with virtual classes. District officials said it’s unclear how or when Bannister contracted the coronavirus.
“I want to express my sincere condolences to Ms. Bannister’s parents, relatives, friends and school family,” Baron Davis, superintendent of Richland School District Two, said in a statement, according to NBC affiliate WIS.
“While gone from us too soon, Ms. Bannister’s legacy lives on through the lives of students she taught in her five years as a dedicated educator,” he said. “To honor Ms. Bannister’s memory, I ask the Richland Two family to join me in reaffirming our commitment to doing all we can to provide premier learning experiences for all students in the safest environment possible.”
Bannister advocated for students and had a passion for music, her co-workers said. She worked with the school choir and hosted a student club for aspiring singers, CNN reported. In 2019, she wrote a song about the importance of attendance to the tune of “Old Town Road” to encourage students.
“Known as Windsor’s Songbird, Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school,” Denise Quickel, principal of Windsor Elementary, said in the statement. “The song and video were a big hit with our school family.”