Dez-Ann Romain, principal at Brownsville’s Brooklyn Democracy Academy, died after being admitted to a hospital for pneumonia on March 18, reported Chalkbeat. She was last at work on March 12, the same day the school started repeatedly deep cleaning the building.
“It is with profound sadness, and overwhelming grief that we announce the passing of our sister, CSA member Dezann Romain, Principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy, due to complications from Coronavirus,” the Council of Schools Supervisors and Administrators said in a statement obtained by Chalkbeat.
Romain’s death comes as New York City reports 192 total CCP virus deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. NTD refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Her death is also the first known case of a public school staff member to die from the virus.
“This is painful for all of us, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Brooklyn Democracy Academy community and the family of Principal Romain,” said Richard Carranza schools Chancellor said in a statement, the education website reported. “We’re all experiencing a deep sense of confusion, uncertainty, and sadness, and it’s more important than ever to provide support to one another. We’ll be there for the students and staff through whatever means necessary during this impossibly difficult time.
“Too many in our society have written off the young scholars under her stewardship, but where others saw problems she saw promise and potential,” said Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams in a statement. “The loss of Principal Romain is particularly painful for the Brooklyn Democracy Academy family, our larger public school community, and a borough grateful for her service.”
Romain’s death sparked discussion about the city’s strategy to fight COVID-19 in school buildings. Even as students are learning from home, teachers are still required to report to school three days a week, which creates an unsafe environment, according to some educators and observers.
“This needs to serve as a wake-up call,” said Mark Treyger, chairman of City Council’s education committee. “I have heard from school communities across the city who are confused and concerned about protocols when staff test positive,” he added. “That needs to end tomorrow.”