A New York City principal has died from complications from the coronavirus, becoming the first known death from the virus of a New York City public school staff member.
The city’s Council of Schools Supervisors and Administrators announced the news in a statement Monday, March 23.
“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 announcement states.
Romain, 36, is one of 285 New York residents to die from the virus. She worked at Brooklyn Democracy Academy, a transfer high school in Brownsville that serves students who have struggled at a traditional high school and are unlikely to graduate on time.
Those who knew Romain considered her to be a beloved principal who was dedicated to her school and the community.
“This is a painful time for all of us, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Brooklyn Democracy Academy community, and the family of Principal Romain,” schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement to Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We’ll be there for the students and staff through whatever means necessary during this impossibly difficult time.”
Days after her death, another city principal from the same Brooklyn Education Department building where Romain worked was suspected to have the illness and hospitalized, according to the New York Post.
The 48-year-old Kappa V High School principal reportedly has pneumonia and is in critical condition.
The state now has 30,611 cases and 5,000 new cases. New York City has 17,000 cases and more than 3,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, New York Daily News reports. A majority of the fatalities are under 45, according to the publication.
The rising death rates had been a focal point for White House leaders as they looked into the efforts being made to contain the virus.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called New York City a “high-risk” area and asked for its residents to avoid nonessential travel.
During Tuesday’s White House briefing, officials said persons who recently left New York should self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that New York residents who were “understandably” trying to leave the state needed to make sure they were not “seeding” the rest of the United States.
“When they go to another place, for their own safety, they have to be careful,” Fauci said.
As of now, the nation’s largest public school system is closed through at least April 20, following a decision by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to close schools in mid-March.