16-year-old SC boy dies from COVID days before start of school

A 16-year-old student at Andrew Jackson High School died just days before the first day of...
A 16-year-old student at Andrew Jackson High School died just days before the first day of school this year.(WSOC/CNN)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:03 AM EDT
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LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WSOC/CNN) - A South Carolina high school opened the school year on a very sad note Monday after a 16-year-old student’s death from COVID just days earlier.

“He loved being active, he was in my gym class, he liked to talk to everybody, he always talked good about everybody,” classmate Seth Marshall says of the victim. “It just hit different he wasn’t family, but you know it hit like family, it was a very devastating moment.”

Andrew Jackson High School was expected to be shorthanded when students returned to class because a number of teachers, administrators and even bus drivers were out sick with COVID-19.

School officials have not released the boy’s name, but say they learned he wasn’t doing well and was airlifted to the hospital where he succumbed to the virus.

His death came days before the start of school and the Lancaster County school superintendent said the virus has touched the district in a major way.

“We’re gonna have classrooms without teachers, were gonna have classroom buildings without administrators, because I have administrators out with COVID, I have teachers out with COVID, bus drivers out with COVID, maintenance staff out with COVID,” Superintendent Jonathan Phipps said.

Phipps can’t mandate masks because of a temporary South Carolina law prohibiting it. So he has pleaded with parents to ask their kids to mask up.

Marshall says his friend’s death is proof that COVID is real and dangerous and says it’s difficult to think about what he lost.

“It was great seeing him everyday, when you were down he boosted your sprit, he was just that type of man,” Marshall said.

The Delta variant is infecting a number of school-age children in Lancaster County. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says 12 percent of COVID-19 cases have been in people between the ages of 11 and 20.

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