An 8th grade student from Oklahoma City Public Schools died of COVID-related complications this week.
Clarence Johnson III’s family called him "Tre."
On a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses, his family said:
“Tre was a happy boy, he had a strong love of all kinds of music, food, video games, animals & social media, and of course his family & friends. Tre was taken from us way too soon, but he’s home now.”
OKCPS released the following statement:
"OKCPS is saddened to learn of the passing of Clarence Johnson, III, who was enrolled to begin 8th grade at Mary Golda Ross Middle School after attending Roosevelt Middle School last year. Crisis counseling is available to students and staff. We will keep his family and friends in our thoughts during this very difficult time."
The news of Johnson's death was announced Thursday by the state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
Hofmeister said this year may feel like deja vu with all of the COVID-related issues in schools. But that this year is different, because the Delta variant is so contagious.
Hofmeister said she found out about Johnson’s death Thursday morning.
“Already many districts are seeing hundreds of positive cases, and in some cases, thousands of students and staff are quarantined,” Hofmeister said.
There are 640,000 students in Oklahoma’s schools that are not vaccinated.
Hofmeister said superintendents and districts can make masking a requirement in schools, as long as there is a way to opt-out.
The superintendent also noted a teacher from Grove died this summer of COVID-related complications.