Teaching Assistant At Sugar Hill Elementary Dies Of COVID-19

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Port Orange, FL - A Sugar Mill Elementary School para-professional is dead after she contracted COVID-19 and pneumonia. According to a statement from the school district on Saturday and a Facebook fundraiser for her,  Shyla Pennington was fighting for her life on Friday night.

Pennington has been a teacher's assistant in the Volusia County School District for more than 18 years, working at Pine Trail Elementary, South Daytona Elementary and most recently Sugar Mill Elementary.

In the statement released by the school district, spokeswoman Kelly Schultz said that "She was a dedicated employee who loved children and also was a devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend to many," Schulz continued, "We are deeply saddened by her passing, and our hearts go out to her family, friends and colleagues in Volusia County schools."

District and staff members at Sugar Mill were told about Pennington's death on Saturday. A crisis team will be at Sugar Mill on Monday to provide grief counseling to students and employees. 

Fifty people have been reported as testing positive  for COVID-19 since the first day of school. That includes 23 staff members. The first cases at Sugar Mill Elementary were reported on September 9.  At this time, there's no information available about when or  where Pennington may have contracted the virus.

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