LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. — A 16-year-old has died due to COVID-19 complications in Lancaster County, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Jennifer Collins.
Officials said the teen, who went to Andrew Jackson High School, succumbed to the virus on Thursday. The student’s name has not been released.
Seth Marshall knew the victim, who was his classmate.
“He loved being active,” Marshall said. “He was in my gym class. He liked to talk to everybody. He always talked good about everybody.”
The school district’s superintendent said that his office heard a couple of days ago that the student was sick and had been airlifted to a hospital for emergency care. The school learned on Friday that the teen died.
“It just hit different,” Marshall said. “He wasn’t family, but you know, it hit like family. It was a very devastating moment.”
Classes are set to resume Monday for the fall semester, and Channel 9 was told the student was known on campus. At 16 years old, the student was either a rising sophomore or junior.
Schools in South Carolina and all over the country are wrestling with the issue of mask mandates and vaccinations. Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Phipps said the teen’s death outlines what is at stake for students, parents and staff.
“I could care less about the politics. I don’t want another child to die. We want the kids to be safe. And we want to do whatever we can to keep our children and staff safe, and if something is so simple as wearing a mask to slow down the spread, please wear a mask,” Phipps said.
Marshall said that his friend’s death is proof that COVID-19 is real, and it is dangerous.
“It was great seeing him every day,” Marshall said. “When you were down, he boosted your sprit. He was just that type of man.”
Statement from Lancaster County Schools:
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of a 16-year-old Andrew Jackson High student from COVID complications. Counselors are available to staff and will also be available to students on the first day of school, Monday, August 16 and through the week. The district continues to follow guidance from the CDC and SC DHEC. It is the district’s priority to keep students safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family.”
The county coroner has not confirmed any other details at this point.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
(WATCH BELOW: Family of teen who nearly died from rare COVID-19-related condition has warning for parents)
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