Florida Teacher's Aide and Paramedic Brother Die of COVID-19 in Same Weekend
Co-workers say Shyla Pennington, a longtime Florida teacher’s aide, was a natural with her students—patient, kind, and committed to each child as if they were her own.
Pennington, who worked for almost 20 years in the Volusia County School District, lived with her brother, Gerald Jones, a paramedic whom community members described as “selfless” and “devoted” to protecting other people. This weekend, both died of COVID-19.
The progression of the disease—slow, then devastatingly fast—played out on the Facebook page of their father, Greg Jones.
“Our daughter Shyla Pennington is now with God, she lost her battle with COVID-19,” Jones wrote on Saturday. Then, the next day: “Our son Gerald is still fighting this mess so please keep him in your prayers.” Less than 12 hours later, he wrote: “2 days after we lost our daughter we just got a call saying we lost our son to [COVID-19]. Rest in peace my children.”
“Take this virus seriously, wear your masks, do your social distancing, all that,” Jones told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “I know they’ve said it a billion times... but we can speak from experience now: Take it seriously.”
Pennington tested positive for the virus less than a week after classes started at Sugar Hill Elementary, where she had recently started assisting teachers in a special-education classroom. She was rushed to the hospital Sept. 11 with critically low oxygen saturation levels and then developed kidney and blood pressure issues, according to her family’s Facebook posts. She died last ...
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