HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – A memorial service was held Thursday evening for a 13-year-old Holyoke Community Charter School student who died of complications from COVID-19. The school said after an increase in the number of cases, they will go completely remote for the entire next week.
The community remembers Giada Rodriguez, known as Gigi, as a brilliant girl. Her family told us they believe she was exposed to COVID-19 at school and now want other parents to have the choice of sending their children to class or enrolling in distance learning.
âShe asked her sister for a hug before she left and we didn’t even come out of the dining room when she collapsed,â said Wanda Rodriguez, Gigi’s mother.
Friends and family bid farewell to Giada Rodriguez, 13, on Thursday evening. The student at Holyoke Community Charter School, known as Gigi, died of complications from COVID-19 last Friday.
âGigi was an old soul, she loved music, sang beautifully, she was candle, she loved fashion, she was very smart, smart but thoughtful,â said Deborah Rodriguez, Gigi’s aunt.
The Rodriguez family told Western Mass News that they believed Gigi had come into contact with the virus at school. She tested positive for COVID on October 10. Holyoke Community Charter School has not commented on her death, but told Western Mass News that due to an increase in COVID cases at school, all students will switch to distance learning for the entire week. next. They said in part:
“All students and staff are scheduled to take a COVID-19 PCR test on November 2. Those who test negative for COVID-19 will return to the building on Monday, November 8, 2021.”
Those who knew and loved Gigi are now asking for more learning options, as global data shows the pandemic is still far from over.
“We can take whatever action is needed, we can wash your hands and wear the double mask, but where does that leave us if a life is still taken,” said Jocelyn Rivera, former music teacher at the Dorman Elementary School in Springfield.
Rivera told Western Mass News she was a music teacher at Dorman Elementary in Springfield, ultimately deciding to quit her job at the end of last school year after losing her father to COVID-19.
For months, she couldn’t shake off her fears of possible exposure to the virus that could continue to claim the lives of more loved ones.
âI had a lot of anxiety, I was crying everyday so it was me or continuing my passion with the Springfield students that really excites me but I really had to make that decision,â Rivera said.
Rivera said losing a local student this way is a nightmare that no community should have to endure. She said parents should be given a choice between in-person learning and distance learning for their children, a choice Rivera believes could save a life.
âNo matter the circumstances or the things we cannot control, we have to take a stand for our children,â Rivera said.
A funeral service for Gigi will be held on Friday.
Western Mass News also contacted the Ministry of Elementary and Secondary Education and they said in part:
The state has provided mobile and rapid testing for the school community. DESE and state health officials will continue to work with the school to test students, staff and families and help ensure community safety During the school closure, students will be able to learn virtually through the live broadcast.