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Roanoke County middle school teacher battling breakthrough case of COVID

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Despite being vaccinated, Hidden Valley Middle School instructor Jim Struzinsky is battling a serious breakthrough case of COVID-19.

The school’s sixth-grade class transitioned to virtual learning September 20 after experiencing high exposure to the virus, impacting 176 students, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

This week, students are back, but the social studies teacher is still in the ICU.

Family and friends say “Mr. S” is looking at a long recovery ahead, without being able to work.

A coworker, creating a GoFundMe page for Struzinsky’s medical bills, saw more than $11,000 in donations over the weekend.

More organizations, like the Parent-Teachers’ Association, are also showing their support.

“It’s just heartstopping,” says PTA President Jen Garrett. “Our youngest son actually is thinking about pursuing a career as a history teacher because of Mr. Struzinsky. He is so beloved by his students, current and former.”

Parents say past students of Mr. S are organizing a get-well card drive for him, asking their peers to create handmade cards they can send his way.

“To see the overabundance of the community coming together as one to take care of one of our own was amazing,” adds Garrett.

Garrett also mentions Struzinsky’s situation will be a topic of discussion at an upcoming school board meeting.

We reached out to Roanoke County Public Schools, whose representative declined to comment at this time due to personnel and HIPAA reasons.

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