An Alexandria High School teacher has died of COVID-19, according to a post by the school’s principal.
Tres Payne, 53, of Ohatchee died Tuesday. He had worked at Alexandria High for 16 years, according to his obituary.
Principal Jason Deason in a Facebook post described Payne as brilliant educator and the “epitome of everything Alexandria.”
“He loved his community, his family, and his job. He loved history and treated it as if it were more valuable than any other subject in education,” Deason wrote. “He had a fire about him when it came to teaching, and helping his students understand what those before us did, and continue to do for our country to this day.”
Payne was an alumnus of the school, a football and wrestling coach and an avid outdoorsman.
“The impact he had on ALL of his students was immeasurable. And as members of the faculty, we couldn’t be more heartbroken. We’ve lost more than a teacher, we’ve lost a friend,’ Deason wrote.
Payne is survived by his wife, Doris, daughter, Savanna, and son, Skyler.
Alabama’s K-12 schools this year are seeing multitudes more COVID-19 cases among students and staff over last year. Last week the state’s K-12 schools reported 8,428 new cases. The week prior states schools saw 9,195 cases.
“A year ago we had something like 200 cases in the same week,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said during a discussion Friday hosted by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.
Last year was different, Harris said. Many students were attending school virtually, and the current delta variant is much more contagious, he said.
“We’re not surprised to see an increase,” Harris said.
Due to the number of new cases many districts that started the year with face masks optional, have switched to require masks, and some are going virtual after outbreaks required quarantining large numbers of students and staff.
Harris encouraged all adults and children over the age of 12 to get vaccinated. It was unclear Wednesday whether Payne was vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Please try to get them vaccinated as soon as possible,” Harris urged parents.