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Jennings special education teacher dies of coronavirus

Jennings special education teacher dies of coronavirus

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A special education teacher who worked in the Jennings School District died Tuesday after being hospitalized with COVID-19, school leaders said.

Mary Smith taught for 21 years with the Special School District of St. Louis County and worked with first graders at Fairview Elementary in Jennings. She had not been in the school for at least a week before experiencing symptoms in late November, according to Jennings Superintendent Art McCoy.

The 52 staff members at Fairview held a long "therapy session" Tuesday to share their memories, McCoy said.

"We celebrated her legacy with a lot of tears and awesome memories of her humor, her heart and how she was always happy," McCoy said. "She loved kids."

Smith's seven students were notified directly of her death. No students or staff members at Fairview are considered to have been exposed to the virus.

Smith is at least the second teacher to die from the coronavirus in the St. Louis region this school year.

AshLee DeMarinis, who taught social skills and special education at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, died in September.

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