‘We have lost one of our own’: Florence school mourns teacher who died from COVID-19 complications

Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 3:34 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – A Florence school is mourning the loss of one of its teachers due to complications from COVID-19.

On Jan. 18, Marlene Evans passed away after battling the disease since early December, according to a statement from the board of directors for the Virtus Academy in Florence.

“It is with heavy hearts that the Virtus Academy Board of Directors must inform the Virtus family that we have lost one of our own,” the board said.

Evans was described as a “beloved kindergarten teacher” at the school and was in her third year of teaching at Virtus Academy, staff said.

Prior to her tenure at Virtus, Evans taught for 30 years in the public school system and then retired.

“After retiring, Ms. Evans’s love of teaching and passion for helping students led her back into the classroom,” the Virtus Academy board statement read in part. “Students and employees alike were drawn to Ms. Evans’s kindness and positivity, and she will be remembered fondly by the numerous lives she touched.”

Melissa Nettles, Evans’ sister-in-law, said she also worked with children through the years at her church, Friendship United Methodist.

“She loved helping people so I think that’s why she was such a good teacher and friend. She would do whatever it took it help a child learn or feel included,” Nettles said.

On Tuesday, Friendship United Methodist asked the congregation to “please pray for comfort for the family during these difficult times!” in a Facebook post.

Please keep the family of Marlene Evans in your prayers! Marlene Evans lost her battle with complications from COVID-19 last night! Please pray for comfort for the family during these difficult times!

Posted by Friendship United Methodist Church on Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“Mrs. Evans lived with her heart on her sleeve and it showed in her classroom. Every child who had Mrs. Evans as a teacher felt a true mother’s love and a dedicated teacher’s passion,” said Brittany Hamilton, interim principal for Virtus Academy.

School staff said counselors will be available for any student or employee who needs one. According to the board, the school will continue to follow guidelines set for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control for helping slow the spread of COVID-19 and will enforce its adopted mask policy.

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