Iowa teacher, 38, dies three days after testing positive for coronavirus

A 38-year-old Iowa teacher has died from COVID-19, three days after testing positive.

Jason Englert was notified on November 5 that he had contracted the virus. 

On Sunday police were called after he failed to respond to messages, and found him dead at his home.

Days earlier, on October 29, a coronavirus outbreak at his district forced schools to switch to full-time remote learning.

‘This week, October 26 – 28, the Belmond-Klemme Community School District has experienced a sudden and severe outbreak of COVID-19 among our secondary students and staff,’ wrote Dan Frazier, the school district superintendent. 

On October 28 he notified parents that five secondary school students had tested positive, and 62 in total had been identified as contacts.  

Jason Englert, 38, was found dead on Sunday, three days after testing positive for COVID

Jason Englert, 38, was found dead on Sunday, three days after testing positive for COVID

Staff and students in the Belmond-Klemme school district (pictured) have paid tribute to him

Staff and students in the Belmond-Klemme school district (pictured) have paid tribute to him

Friends, students and co-workers in Belmond, 90 miles north of Des Moines, paid tribute to a much-loved teacher with an irresistible laugh and a permanent smile, who loved to help his pupils. 

Born in Royal, Iowa, Englert loved teaching

Born in Royal, Iowa, Englert loved teaching 

‘Jason was always such a pleasure to have because he had such a positive attitude,’ said Dan Frazier, superintendent of Belmond-Klemme school district.

He said that Englert had ‘a lot of energy’, adding: ‘the rapport he had with students was remarkable.’

Englert was in his first year of teaching in the Belmond-Klemme Talented and Gifted program, having previously taught math at various schools in the area.

‘He was just a very energetic guy, and he always had a cheerful way of looking at things,’ said Frazier.

‘It wasn’t unusual for me to ask him how it was going and he would say things like “living the dream.” ‘

Englert also coached volleyball and basketball, and had planned on coaching track in the spring, according to his obituary.

Prior to joining Belmond-Klemme in August, the Iowa native was a math teacher for the Manson-Northwest Webster School District.

Anne-Kathrin Reuter, who taught alongside Englert, paid tribute to him on his online obituary.

‘He was not just a colleague, he was my friend,’ she wrote.

‘He always believed in me and with his humor and smile cheered me on even when we didn’t work at the same school anymore. He was a great friend and such a wonderful human soul.

‘Thank you for always being my friend and making me laugh… and sharing your secret sweets stash on stressful school days.

‘I will miss you.’

A former student, Alexis Wood, wrote: ‘Here’s to Mr E, he was the happiest man I knew.

‘His laugh was so contagious and he could always light up a room. I really enjoyed having Mr Englert in the classroom.’

Friends of Englert have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for his funeral expenses.

Frazier said of Englert that 'the rapport he had with students was remarkable'

Frazier said of Englert that ‘the rapport he had with students was remarkable’

‘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.’

The organizer wrote: ‘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.

‘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.’

Englert’s cause of death has not yet been determined.

Iowa has 173,404 cases of COVID-19, and 1,946 deaths.

The past week has been the worst since May, as the cold weather sees the virus come roaring back. 

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