A mother whose 10-year-old daughter died of COVID-19 spoke at a school board meeting this week, warning that "COVID is not over" and pleading for people to "do everything we can to protect our children."
Nicole Sperry, a teacher from Suffolk, Virginia, spoke at the Chesapeake Public Schools' board meeting on Monday. Her daughter's funeral service was on Sunday.
"My message for you and all that are listening is that COVID is not over. No matter what people who have been standing up here have said," Sperry said.
"During the last meeting, there were parents or concerned citizens that voiced misinformation to you. They said that COVID was basically over and that healthy people do not die. When they were sharing this information, their opinions, the fact was, I was sitting next to my healthy daughter's deathbed," she said.
Sperry added that "now more than ever, we need to do everything that we can to protect our children."
"We need to be the example to them on how to wear masks correctly. We need to be the example to them on how to show compassion and empathy," Sperry said.
The mother added that her family has taken precautions and "done everything possible to help lower the spread of COVID." She said her daughter was learning how to roller skate, but their family avoided taking her to crowded places to practice as the virus spread.
"COVID is real, and our wish is that people take it more seriously," Sperry said.
USA TODAY has reached out to Sperry for more information.
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Wisconsin: Parent sues school district, says her son contracted COVID-19 from a classmate
Teresa Sperry died on Sept. 27, according to multiple reports. Her mother alleged in a post on Facebook that the girl was required by a teacher to walk sick classmates to a nurse's office at Hillpoint Elementary School before testing positive for COVID-19.
School officials launched an investigation into the claim, according to multiple reports.
Though children are less likely than adults to become severely ill with COVID-19, the most recent wave of the virus saw more children testing positive relative to older adults - largely due to COVID-19 vaccines being approved for individuals who are 12 and older.
Hospitalizations of kids with COVID-19 increased in August and September. Weekly pediatric admissions reached over three kids per 100,000 the week ending with Sept. 5.
In Wisconsin, a parent filed a federal lawsuit against the Waukesha School District and Waukesha School Board, saying that her son got sick after being exposed to a classmate with COVID-19 symptoms.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mom warns school the COVID pandemic isn't over after daughter dies