School creates scholarship for teacher who died due to COVID-19

The community was able to raise nearly $10,000 in honor of Jason Englert, who was a new teacher to the district.


Jason Englert was a relatively new teacher to the Belmond-Klemme Community School District in Iowa. He taught math and science to students in the gifted program.


It was just three days after he tested positive for COVID-19 that his father found him dead in his home. Later on, the Englert family received the autopsy report with his cause of death listed as acute respiratory distress syndrome due to COVID-19.

"You go into a staff meeting on a Monday morning and you're given 15 minutes to find out your co-worker has passed, and then you're expected to cope with your own emotions and then go in and help your kids," kindergarten teacher Marne Markwardt and Englert's coworker said. "I think the hardest part is the guilt because he was new to our district."

In his honor, Markwardt, the students and community decided to create a scholarship.

"Parents donated. Businesses donated. It just kind of snowballed," she said.

In the end, they were able to raise $10,000 for the Jason Englert Scholarship. Even Englert's family came to donate money.

"I really don't want to take their money, but then I think it's probably part of their healing process, too," Markwardt said.

The scholarship is intended for students who are interested in becoming teachers, just like Englert. School officials said they were inspired by Englert putting himself through school though he had not come from a wealthy family.

"I just hope he knows how much he meant to everybody and how much he meant to our kiddos," Markwardt said.

You can watch more on this story in the video player above.

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