Kelso teacher tests COVID positive, dies

Coronavirus

One mother wants clarity from the Kelso School District

KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — Last Thursday, Barnes Elementary School 4th-grade teacher Karen James told parents through a parent-teacher messaging app she tested positive for COVID-19 and she would be out of the classroom for a period of time.

By Monday, she was gone. Parents told KOIN 6 News they got a phone call from the principal at Barnes Elementary to inform them of her death.

Close friends who were at her home told KOIN 6 News she passed away from COVID. She was a truly wonderful woman, they said, and so much about her will be missed.

One mother who spoke with KOIN 6 News said she’s concerned for her child and wants clarity from the Kelso School District.

“I feel like they should have contacted us and let us know that somebody tested positive, not necessarily the teacher, but just somebody,” this mother said. “And I feel like they should have excused every one of those students in that classroom, at least in that classroom, to be quarantined.”

In a message to KOIN 6 News, the Kelso School District said it’s not able to comment on Karen James’ cause of death out of respect and to protect her privacy.

But district officials said in instances where someone tests positive, the district immediately communicates with staff, students and/or families who are identified as close contacts of a positive individual.

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