A Loudoun County, Virginia, educator died of coronavirus and was the first person in the county to die of the virus.
Susan Rokus worked as a teacher for many years and continued to work into her 70s as a reading tutor at three elementary schools right up until they closed because of the virus.
Her death was caused by respiratory failure brought upon by COVID-19, according to the county health department. Those who were in close contact with her were investigated and notified of her condition when she was first diagnosed.
Liberty Elementary School principal Paul Pack remembered Susan Rokus as one of a kind — a woman who dedicated her life, energy and love to educating the children of Loudoun County.
“Her legacy in Loudoun is unlike anything I’ve ever seen because it’s generational,” Pack said.
Pack met Rokus, who had no children of her own, at the beginning of his teaching career. She became a family friend and inspiration.
“She also kind of drove a lot of what I do,” he said. “Just the fact of taking care of teachers who are taking care of students, and I say that the reason I might be a good principal is that Susan told me how to be principal. She told me what she would have wanted.”
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County health director David Goodfriend said their hearts go out to Rokus' loved ones and that this case poses no further risk to the community.
“We ask that everyone do their part to slow the spread of the virus in our community: practice social distancing, wash your hands and cover coughs and sneezes,” he said.
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams issued a statement addressing the tragedy and urging the public to practice social distancing.
“Even as we grieve, we each have a role to play in providing community care right now. We show love of neighbor by practicing community care, including physical distancing, other preventative measures recommended by public health officials, and the directives of the governor. It’s said that 'there is a time for everything,' and it’s still time for each of us to commit to community care," Williams said.
Loudoun County encourages residents to stay informed about COVID-19 and visit their website for more information about how to protect themselves, and to sign up for email and text updates.