Mom of SC teacher who died from COVID-19 succumbs to virus 2 weeks later

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina woman has died from COVID-19 two weeks after her daughter, a third-grade teacher, also died from the virus.

Shirley Bannister died Sunday.

Last month, Channel 9 reported her daughter, Demetria “Demi” Bannister, 28, was diagnosed with the virus and died weeks after starting the new school year.

Those who knew both women said they are trying to support Shirley’s husband and Demi’s father.

“I can’t imagine how one would process losing your only child and then two weeks later losing your wife,” sister-in-law Shirley Mills-Bannister said.

The Bannister family said they are not sure how either Demetria or Shirley caught the virus.

Demetria was a third-grade teacher starting her fifth year of teaching at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia, officials said.

She was at the school on Aug. 28, during a week of teacher workdays before the school year began. She started teaching the following week from home, officials said. The district said it is traced anyone who had close contact with Demetria and instructed custodians to deeply clean the school.

Students in South Carolina have been returning to school over the past several weeks, with everyone required to be back by the day after Labor Day. Most districts are allowing students to attend classes in person at least one day a week.

Richland 2 started the school year on Aug. 31 with all virtual classes.

Richland 2 officials said Bannister’s parents gave them permission to share details about her death and her life to remind people how serious COVID-19 is and the need to continue to take all precautions to stop the spread of the virus.

Bannister loved music and led the school choir, even writing a song last year about the importance of school to the tune of the popular song “Old Town Road,” school officials said.

“While gone from us too soon, Ms. Bannister’s legacy lives on through the lives of the students she taught in her five years as a dedicated educator,” said Richland 2 superintendent Baron Davis.

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