A North Carolina elementary school teacher died Thursday due to COVID-19, and friends say her final wish was to get vaccinated against the virus. Merridith Mongone, a fourth-grade teacher at Scotts Ridge Elementary School in Wake County, had contracted the virus in early August while on a hiking trip with her family, according to her friend and colleague Christi Vereckey. She continued to feel sick as the school year started, prompting Vereckey to set up her classroom and other teachers to fill in for her. Vereckey also said Mongone, 43, had texted her days before her death wishing she had gotten the vaccine, saying she had pushed her teenage daughters to get vaccinated. “I should’ve gotten vaccinated…I was so dumb…I’ll be getting vaccinated hopefully when I get out of here in three weeks,” Mongone’s final message read, according to Vereckey.
“She was full of life, full of energy,” Vereckey told The News & Observer. “She never sat down. She loved teaching, loved seeing kids learn and grow.”
Mongone’s death follows a disturbing trend of teachers across the country succumbing to the virus, with some expressing regret for not receiving the vaccine. Her family has set up a GoFundMe in her honor.