Jacksonville, Fla. – The school spokesperson confirmed that two beloved teachers at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville have died due to COVID-19.
Had two mother and daughter.
A TCA representative said Merlin Foshee and Julie Foshee-Nossel died last week.
News4Jax reached out to the administration of the private school after being contacted by concerned parents.
Communications director Chris Carr said the women contracted the virus over the Thanksgiving break and did not return to campus after the break. He said that there was no contact with anyone else related to the school.
Family members, friends and parents of Trinity students expressed condolences on social media, praising the teachers for their kindness, dedication and compassion.
“Really very sad,” said Trinity Baptist pastor Tom Messer. “I think that as his legacy he loved children, he loved Trinity and he laid himself out for people all these years.”
Mother Merlin, known to students as Mimi, was a preschool teacher for years, attending the school since 1994. Daughter Julie began as a preschooler director – an assistant when she was a teenager and achieved rank.
44-year-old Novell died a few days after the death of his mother at the age of 81.
“He said that we are not professional daycare people. We are a grandmother and an aunt to all these children. And we love and help them. You can’t be a better preschool worker than Julie and Merlin.”
Many consider teachers at increased risk during the epidemic as frontline workers.
“In the last week and half of the day, we know at least five teachers who have died of COVID in the state of Florida,” Florida Education Association President Andrew Sper told News4Jax last week. “From principals to teachers, to support staff and bus drivers, this is a major concern and we have to protect our teachers.”
Spar, speaking on behalf of Florida’s largest teachers union, Gov. Ron is asking DeSantis to prioritize school staff for COVID-19 vaccination.
The Trinity community is devastated by the loss of two women who made a major impact and a family who suffered the tragedy twice.
“Our Christian worldview teaches us that grief is a part of life,” Messer said. “And it is inevitable that we are not only going to suffer, but we are going to face it because we are also at a loss this week with loved ones and the people we care deeply about. And this brings us back to the gospel message that our hope is in Jesus Christ. “
The Trinity community is planning a memorial for them in the coming weeks when students return from the Christmas holiday. For those who want to help the family, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been established.
Merlin was a widow and leaves behind a son.
Julie had three stepchildren and was also a widow. According to the pastor, her husband died years ago.
The school said the nursery was closed after an unrelated staffer tested positive for about two weeks after the Thanksgiving break. Contact tracing was completed and a portion of the nursery was closed according to Health and CDC guidelines.
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