Third-grade teacher in SC district dies of COVID-19

A 28-year-old Richland Two teacher has died from complications of COVID-19, district officials told news outlet WIS on Wednesday in Columbia, South Carolina.

Demetria (Demi) Bannister, who taught professionally for five years, instructed third graders at Windsor Elementary School, according to WIS.

“I want to express my sincere condolences to Ms. Bannister’s parents, relatives, friends and school family,” Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis said in a statement. “While gone from us too soon, Ms. Bannister’s legacy lives on through the lives of the students she taught in her five years as a dedicated educator. 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 and doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Some of Bannister’s former co-workers told WIS she went above and beyond for her 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, told the TV station. “For our school’s Attendance Matters kickoff in 2019, she wrote a song about the importance of coming to school to the tune of ‘Old Town Road.' The song and video were a big hit with our school family. Ms. Bannister loved her students and never missed an opportunity to advocate for students and public education.”

Bannister was last inside the Windsor Elementary building on Aug. 28 during the final teacher workdays, the TV station reported, citing Richland Two.

She did not show symptoms then, and all cleaning protocols were followed, the district told WIS.

Richland Two was notified of Bannister’s positive COVID-19 test Sept. 5, according to the TV station.

An email was sent to Windsor Elementary staff that day, explaining Bannister was hospitalized due to the virus. She died Monday, WIS reported.