'Kind' 16-Year-Old Texas Student and Teacher Die of COVID in Same Week

A student and a teacher, both from Richardson, Texas, have died from COVID-19 complications.

Sha'Niyah McGee, a 16-year-old student at Berkner High School, and Eroletta Piascyk, a teacher at the Christa McAuliffe Learning Center (CMLC), both passed away last week.

Piascyk was fully vaccinated and had also received a booster shot before she died, according to Fox 4.

McGee's vaccination status was unknown, and she was reportedly unwell and out of school for several weeks before succumbing to the virus.

Richardson Independent School District (RISD) Superintendent Jeannie Stone paid tribute to them at a board meeting on Monday, where a moment of silence was held.

"We were saddened with two tragic losses this week due to COVID-19 complications. We lost our Berkner student, Sha'Niyah McGee. Sha'Niyah was described by some of her teachers as 'very sweet, kind, and just a delight to know and have in class,'" Stone said at the meeting.

"And we also lost Miss Eroletta Piascyk, a beloved teacher known as Mrs. P at CMLC, a 24-year tenure teacher all at that same campus, who was described as 'talented, compassionate and a dedicated and of course loving teacher.'"

RISD staff, students and parents were notified of the deaths via a letter.

"All of us at the Richardson Independent School District are deeply saddened by this loss and want you to know that we are here to help you in any way we can," it reads.

The RISD COVID-19 dashboard shows that there have been 1,139 confirmed positive cases among students and 216 positive cases among staff in the district since the start of the current school year.

Some 124 of those are described as "currently active."

Schools covered by the RISD require students and staff to wear a mask indoors.

The RISD is also "strongly" encouraging students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but says that no classroom placements or schedules will be based on vaccination status.

RISD is one of several school districts being sued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for mandating face coverings.

"I don't care what your view is on the efficacy of masks, whether they work, whether they don't or whether you think you have the authority to mandate them," a speaker reportedly said at the aforementioned RISD board meeting on Monday.

"The fact is, as we stand here today—you don't. And you're violating the law by doing so."

An empty chair in a school classroom
Tributes have been paid to student Sha’Niyah McGee and teacher Eroletta Piascyk after they passed away from COVID-19 last week. Penny Britt/iStock