A beloved high school assistant principal and girls’ basketball coach died of coronavirus, school officials announced.
Joseph Lewinger, 42, of Queens, died Saturday of complications related to the virus after spending 20 years working with youth at The Mary Louis Academy.
He is the second reported death of a New York school staffer related to the outbreak after Mayor Bill de Blasio was blasted for not closing schools sooner.
Principal Ann O’Hagan-Cordes announced Lewinger’s passing to the community on Twitter.
Joseph Lewinger (pictured) died of complications related to coronavirus Saturday, according to school officials at The Mary Louis Academy
The Mary Louis Academy released a statement regarding Lewinger’s death to community members
‘Our dear, much loved, Joseph Lewinger has passed into the arms of Jesus tonight,’ she wrote.
‘He tirelessly served The Mary Louis Academy for 20 years as teacher, coach, Assistant Athletic Director, Athletic Director, and currently as Assistant Principal.
‘We pray that others who are inflicted with this disease recover and return to their families. We pray for those on the front lines, trying their best to save lives, that they themselves are safe.
O’Hagan-Cordes added that the student body would be able to mourn together eventually, but must follow mandated social distancing rules at the moment.
Officials said Lewinger (left and right) worked at The Mary Louis Academy for 20 years and served as assistant principal
Principal Ann O’Hagan-Cordes: ‘Our dear, much loved, Joseph Lewinger has passed into the arms of Jesus tonight’
The Franklin Square Union Free School District also released a statement following Lewinger’s death.
‘While the loss of any life to this terrible virus is tragic, the passing of one of our own hits us particularly hard, wrote Superintendent of School Dr. Jared Bloom.
The statement said Lewinger helped support the introduction of The Mary Louis Academy’s pre-Kindergarten program.
‘Throughout his time on the Board, he was focused on making sure all students were provided with the resources and education they deserved.
‘Mr. Lewinger cared deeply about our district; he cared deeply about our community; he believed in our kids.’
Pictured: The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estate of Queens, New York
He also was a member of the Board of Education of the Franklin Square Union Free School District after being elected in 2015. He served as the board’s president in 2016.
Community members shared their condolences on Twitter, praising Lewinger’s passion for both his family and his students.
One man wrote: ‘What horrible news. I remember when Joe first came into the GCHSAA. He had such energy and passion. And such a ready smile.’
Lewinger (pictured) was a member of the Board of Education of the Franklin Square Union Free School District after being elected in 2015
Community members mourned the loss of Lewinger on social media, with people saying he had ‘energy and passion’
Lewinger is survived by his wife and three children.
Lewinger’s death comes after New York recorded the first death of a school teacher March 23.
Dezann Romain, 36, died of after suffering complications due to the coronoavirus.
She was the head teacher at the Brooklyn Democracy Academy in Brownsville.
‘It is with profound sadness and overwhelming grief that we announce the passing of our sister, CSA member Dezann Romain, Principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy, due to complications from Coronavirus,’ the union said in a statement.
Brooklyn principal, Dezann Romain, 36, has died due to complications from coronavirus. She was principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy
The Academy is a transfer school for students who struggled in other schools
‘Our prayers are with her family and school community as we mourn alongside them. Please keep Principal Romain in your thoughts and continue to do everything possible to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe during this health crisis.’
Romain worked at a transfer school that helps students who have dropped out of high school. She had been promoted from assistant principal in 2017.
‘This is painful for all of us, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Brooklyn Democracy Academy community, and the family of Principal Romain,’ Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement to the New York Post.
On Sunday, there have been 237 deaths so far in New York state after 308 people died on Saturday
‘We’re all experiencing a deep sense of confusion, uncertainty and sadness and it’s more important than ever to provide support to one another.
‘We’ll be there for the students and staff through whatever means necessary during this impossibly difficult time.’
De Blasio previously ignited ire from educators after refusing to close the public school system so that parents can continue to work.
The United Federation of Teachers urged him to shut down school over health concerns.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s foremost infection disease expert, said the United States could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci offered his prognosis in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, as the federal government weighs rolling back guidelines on social distancing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured) estimated 100,000 could die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
‘I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases,’ he said, correcting himself to say he meant deaths. ‘We’re going to have millions of cases.’ But he added ‘I don’t want to be held to that’ because the pandemic is ‘such a moving target’.
The bleak projection comes as the US leads the world in coronavirus infections, with 131,824 reported to date.
The nationwide death toll surpassed 2,336 on Sunday, more than doubling figures reported two days earlier.
In New York, there are 59,513 confirmed infections and a death toll of 965. New York City accounts for 33,786 cases and at least 672 deaths.
On Sunday, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that new coronavirus hotspots – including New Orleans and Detroit – could be worse than New York City.
‘Every metro area should assume that they will have an outbreak equivalent to New York,’ said Birx during a NBC News interview.
Birx has said that the White House task force anticipates challenges in areas that have not yet seen widespread outbreaks.
She said the Trump administration is working hard to push supplies such as ventilators out to affected areas to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed – as many across the country are already complaining of dangerous shortages.
‘Hospitals are so busy taking care of the people who are ill, they can’t be spending time doing inventory,’ Birx said. ‘We need to help and support that.’
Confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City soared to 33,786 Sunday after 4,002 new cases were reported
‘The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation … then we’ll be able to move forward,’ she added.
President Trump considered placing New York state on quarantine, but later backpedaled and instead ordered a travel advisory.
‘On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the [CDC] to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government,’ Trump tweeted on Saturday from the White House.
‘A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!’ he continued. On Saturday night, confirmed cases of coronavirus hit 123,788 and deaths surpassed 2,100 nationwide, with 672 deaths in New York City alone.