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Girl from Suffolk dies from COVID-19 complications

Teresa Sperry was 10 years old. She died at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. Her mother talked about the loss and the need to guard against COVID-19.

SUFFOLK, Va. — On Wednesday, the parents of a 10-year-old girl who died as a result of COVID-19 opened up about their daughter's death.

“She had such a caring heart and didn’t want to see anybody hurt and upset and wanted to make sure everybody had a friend," said Teresa Sperry's mother, Nicole. 

The parents are struggling to find out how Teresa got the COVID-19 virus and passed away.

“COVID just hurt her heart. It just couldn’t take it. We told them she never had any heart issues," Nicole said. 

The parents say they think Teresa got the virus from helping sick students at her school, Hillpoint Elementary in Suffolk.

“She came home and she said... she was telling me her class job was she was 'class nurse' and it was her job to take the sick kids from her class to the office," the child's father, Jeff said.

Credit: Nicole Sperry
Teresa Sperry

The couple said they are vaccinated, as are Teresa's older brothers. Her mother said Teresa was ready to get the vaccine.

“She was like, 'Yeah I can get my shot.' Like she wanted to get her shot," Nicole said.

Teresa's parents have a message to others about the COVID-19 virus. 

“I want people to take this seriously. Wear your mask, wear it correctly. It doesn't take much to show that you care about somebody else," Nicole said. 

RELATED: Continued COVID precautions urged in wake of Suffolk girl's death

Teresa’s mother is a school teacher in Hampton Roads. She wants others to believe that the COVID-19 virus is real, especially after hearing comments at a school board meeting.

“There were parents there... I’m guessing parents. But they made comments about how 'healthy people don’t die from COVID' how 'COVID is over.' It if was over, my daughter would still be here with us.”

The Sperry family is in quarantine, as the father has also tested positive for the virus. 

Nicole said the family would have to quarantine until October 4 at which time they would start preparing for a celebration of life for Teresa.

Suffolk Public Schools sent a letter dated Sept. 28 to the Hillpoint Elementary community. The letter, signed by the superintendent, offered condolences to the family before talking about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

It also mentioned the importance of talking about the loss with students and said the school division was there to support families.

Sperry shared the letter on her Facebook profile. The post included these strong words:

Want to know what you can do to honor my lovely girl?

Wear a damn mask!

Get vaccinated!

Social distance!

And most importantly stop complaining and keep your sick kids at home. 

Because in the end you will still get to hug yours.

Credit: Nicole Sperry
Teresa Sperry

In a statement to 13News Now, a spokesperson for Suffolk Public Schools said:

Suffolk Public Schools is heartbroken due to the tragic loss of one of our students, Teresa Sperry. It is our intention to support the family, the school, and our entire school community during this very difficult time. We will continue to follow our mitigation strategies of wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. The school division also encourages vaccinations of both staff and students (if they are eligible).

Suffolk Public Schools will continue to follow the guidance from the Center for Disease Control with support from the Western Tidewater Health District.

Earlier this year, the family of a teenager who lived in Norfolk said she died after getting COVID-19.

Schwanda Corprew,17, lived in Tidewater Gardens and would have been a senior at Booker T. Washington High School. Relatives said Schwanda planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine within days of her death.


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