Parents say 10-year-old girl died of COVID after teacher made her class ‘nurse’


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The world is going to miss Teresa: that’s what her parents have to say about the bubbly 10-year-old Hillpoint Elementary School 5th grader who died Sept. 27 at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

“The world is gonna miss out on her. She had so many dreams, so many goals that she wanted to do; she wanted to be a teacher, she wanted to design clothes. She impacted so many people,” said Teresa’s mother, Nicole Sperry.

Suffolk Public Schools (SPS) is responding to reports from the Sperrys that their daughter was assigned to escort sick children to the nurse’s office. Teresa’s father shared an account with Andy Fox, saying Teresa was proud of her role working as a so-called “nurse.”

A photo of Teresa Sperry (Via Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters)

“She was in the car and was telling me her job was to take care of the sick kids and take them to the nurse,” said Jeff Sperry.

That account has the superintendent of schools in the difficult position of contradicting the grieving parents.

“It is true that the student had the job of nurse, but that was for band-aids or bags of ice for kids who fell on the playground etcetera,” said Dr. John B. Gordon III. “The procedure that is used at the schools is anytime there is a sick student we call a Code C and we’ve verified with the teacher and the school nurse and the administration that at no time was the student walking someone to a clinic who was feeling ill.”

The Sperrys stand by their story.

“My daughter is gone; why would she lie, why would she make that up?” said Mr. Sperry.

SPS Thursday issued a statement saying it will continue to follow guidance from the CDC and the health department.

Contact tracing is underway. Dr. Gordon told WAVY on Wednesday no other student in Teresa’s class has tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

With Hampton Roads now recording three juvenile COVID-19 fatalities, CHKD Thursday provided information for parents on where to get testing and when to take action if they are concerned a child has been exposed to the deadly coronavirus.

The Sperrys say they are vaccinated, but Mr. Sperry and Teresa’s brother have tested positive for coronavirus. Because of this diagnosis, funeral arrangements are pending.

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