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COURIER LIFE,16 MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 2020
‘A tragic loss’
dies from COVID-19
Principal Dezann Romain became the fi rst publich school educator to die from the novel
coronavirus, at the age of 36. Photo by Brooklyn Democracy Academy
BY JESSICA PARKS
Dezann Romain, the 36-yearold
principal of a high school in
Brownsville died after contracting
COVID-19, school offi cials announced
on March 23.
“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,” said Schools Chancellor
Richard Carranza in a statement.
“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
diffi cult time.”
Romain, who had served as the
head of the 190-student Brooklyn Democracy
Academy that enrolls students
with learning challenges, became
the fi rst known public school
employee to succumb to the virus
— which had killed over 120 people,
and infected 25,000 people across the
state as of March 24.
The news of Romain’s untimely
death came the same day as the city’s
1.1 million public school students
transitioned to remote learning —
which Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted
would last through the end of the
The Council of School Supervisors
and Administrators, which
counted Romain as a member, expressed
their sadness at her passing
in a statement to Chalkbeat.
“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 organization said.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric
Adams remembered Romain for her
dedicated work uplifting students
in one of the borough’s most underserved
“Too many in our society have
written off the young scholars under
her stewardship, but where others
saw problems she saw promise
and potential,” he said. “Every soul
we lose in this pandemic is a tragic
loss for our world. The loss of Principal
Romain is particularly painful
for the Brooklyn Democracy Academy
family, our larger public school
community, and a borough grateful
for her service.”
Romain’s death is unusual for
someone her age — as Spain, Italy,
and South Korea have all reported
coronavirus-related death rates below
one percent for people between
the ages of 30 and 49, according to a
Vox report. Health offi cials, however,
note that the virus can infect people
of all ages, and people with pre-existing
conditions — like cancer or high
blood pressure — who fall in any age
range are more susceptible to death
from the virus.
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