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2nd Prince William Schools Employee Dies of COVID-19

| February 23, 2021 | 0 Comments | Education

Woodbridge Middle School

Prince William County Schools announced Monday that a second employee has died of COVID-19.

Flor de Luz Cervantes was a school nutrition service employee who worked at Woodbridge Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia. She had been there since 2016. According to a letter sent by the school, she had been on leave since Jan. 27.

“Flor will be remembered by her customers and co-workers for her energy and her full of life personality,” said Chaqueta McKay Cafeteria Manager at Woodbridge Middle School. “Flor was a fun-loving dedicated member of our team, and it will not be easy to replace what she brought to her Woodbridge Middle School cafeteria family.”

Flor was a mother of four. Two of her children attended Prince William County Schools.

Prince William Education Association issued a statement on social medial. “PWEA is saddened by the news that Flor de Luz Cervantes, a dedicated member of the Woodbridge Middle Nutrition staff, passed away after a month-long battle with Covid-19. Our thoughts are with her family and colleagues as they grieve.”

On Feb. 22, Angela Owens, Principal of Woodbridge Middle School sent to parents letting them know that counselors would be available for the students if they need to talk.

“We don’t have any information indicating she caught the virus at work,” said Diana Gulotta, Director of Communications for PWCS. “The appropriate communication was sent to the school staff and school community regarding this situation.”

The death comes the same week more students are scheduled to return to school via the hybrid model. All students will have the option to return to school by Mar. 3. Currently, no regular education students are attending PWCS middle schools.

According to PWCS’s COVID-19 Dashboard, two people associated with Woodbridge Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19 during the week of Jan. 27. PWCS noted they communicated to “staff and community”* for the 1/27/2021 case. The person did not have any close contact with anyone at the school according to Virginia Department of Health guidelines.

VDH guidelines dictates that “close contact” is within six feet of a person during the contagious time. It  also considers the length of time of the contact and whether that person was wearing a mask the entire time.

Another person associated with the school was listed on 1/28/2021. He or she was “virtual only,” thereby the school sent “no communication.”

Gulotta said the school division cannot release any information on the names of individuals connected with the dashboard as that is private medical information.

Prince William County Schools experience 899 total cases related to their schools according to the January Dashboard. Those cases include staff, students, and visitors to the schools.

Middle School is located in the 22191- zip code, which has the second highest COVID-19 positive numbers in the state at 6,856. It is second only to the 22193-zip code in neighboring Dumfries, which has 7720 cases.

Currently the only students in the middle school are certain special education and English Language Learners. However, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th grades will return to school on Feb. 25 and 26. All K-12 students will be able to attend in-person by March 3. High school principals told the school board last week that typical class sizes will be five or six students.

The first known Prince William County Schools employee to die of COVID-19 was Dinora Mejia, who died on Jan. 12. Mejia was the daytime custodian at Potomac View Elementary School in Woodbridge. She had been employed with PWCS for 20 years.

Shortly afterwards Mejia’s adult daughter died of COVID-19 as well. The school division does not believe Mejia contracted the virus through the school.

Information on Flor de Luz Cervantes family has been added to the article as of Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. 

Correction: Bristow Beat previously said incorrectly that the Jan. 27 case involved “staff and community.” This designation on the dashboard meant that the school communicated the COVID-19 case to staff and community. 

There is now a GoFundMe page to help Flor de Luz Cervante’s family pay for a funeral and memorial service. More information here. 

© 2021, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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