A custodian who worked at a Prince William County’s Potomac View Elementary School has died from complications to COVID-19, the school division has confirmed.
The custodian, identified by the school division as Dinora Mejia, was “a longtime daytime custodian” at the Woodbridge elementary school. She had been on medical leave since Dec. 9, Potomac View Elementary School Principal Latiesa Geen said in a Jan. 11 email to parents.
Members of the school division’s “critical incident team will be available to assist students and staff in coping with their sadness," Green's email said.
“Please pay attention to your student’s emotional needs during the next few weeks, especially if he/she knew Ms. Mejia,” the email said.
Prince William County schools officials confirmed the custodian’s death on Tuesday morning.
“We are very saddened by the death of Dinora Mejia, beloved daytime custodian at Potomac View Elementary School and 20-year employee of PWCS,” Diana Gulotta, a school division spokeswoman, said in an email.
Mejia is the first school division employee to die of complications related to COVID, Gulotta said.
The school division does not believe the custodian became infected with the virus at school, Gulotta said.
"We were provided information that she had close contact with someone outside of school that had COVID-19," Gulotta said in an email.
News of the custodian's death comes as the school division welcomed thousands more students into the school buildings today as its hybrid learning model expanded to include second- and third-grade students. They returned to schools on Jan. 12 for the first time since last March.
The news also precedes the school board’s special meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight, to discuss Superintendent Steven Walts’ latest change to in-school learning plans.
Walts recommended on Jan. 6 that students in the fourth through 12th grades not return to schools until April 20 at the earliest, in part to allow teachers and staff to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.
Teachers and staff are now eligible for vaccines and are set to begin receiving them on Jan. 28, Prince William Health Department Director Dr. Alison Ansher told the Manassas City Council Monday night.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated.