South Carolina district mourns loss of 3rd grade teacher after she dies from COVID-19

A 28-year-old South Carolina school teacher has died from complications of COVID-19, officials confirmed Wednesday.


A South Carolina school district is mourning the loss of a teacher, who died Monday from complications of COVID-19.

Demetria Bannister was a third grade teacher in a school district near Columbia, South Carolina. She'd been teaching for five years.

The district said she was last in the building in August when teachers were preparing for the beginning of the year and was symptom-free. They notified teachers when the district learned she'd tested positive and was hospitalized.

It is unclear how or where Bannister contracted the virus. The district reopened recently with all students learning virtually.

“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.”

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Some former co-workers describe her as a teacher who went above and beyond for her students and who had a passion for the arts.

“Known as Windsor’s Songbird, Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school,” said Denise Quickel, principal of Windsor Elementary. “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.”