Iowa Teacher Dies 3 Days After Testing Positive for COVID-19: 'He Spent His Life Bringing Joy'
A 38-year-old teacher in Iowa is dead after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Jason Englert was found dead in his home on Sunday, three days after he tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dan Frazier, superintendent of the Belmond-Klemme Community School District.
Frazier tells PEOPLE that Englert and the rest of the Belmond-Klemme staff were tested on Nov. 2 following a coronavirus outbreak among students. At the time, the school Englert was teaching at had shifted to online learning.
"Mr. Englert had a cheerful demeanor and a positive attitude, and he had wonderful rapport with his students," the school district said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason's parents and other extended family and friends."
Englert's family told local news station KCCI that a cause of death has not been released, though they wonder if his coronavirus diagnosis may have led to a heart attack or stroke.
In addition to being a "talented and gifted teacher," Englert also coached volleyball, basketball and had planned on coaching track in the spring, according to his obituary in The Belmond Independent.
Prior to joining Belmond-Klemme in August, the Iowa native was a math teacher for the Manson-Northwest Webster School District.
Friends of Englert have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for his funeral expenses.
"Jason Englert had a passion for people," the fundraiser's organizer wrote on the page. "He spent his life bringing joy, kindness, love and generosity to all those around him."
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"Teaching was more than a job for Jason. He wanted to meet all students where they were. He was a leader and innovator and was ready to take on new initiatives or bring what he had learned to his colleagues to help them grow as well," the description reads.
"He never missed a birthday greeting and came to potlucks with his secret recipe. Students have shared how Jason never gave up on them and met them where they were. He loved shenanigans and was always good for a laugh."
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked those who wish to pay tribute to donate to their local school district in Englert's name, according to the teacher's online obituary.
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