Plans underway to honor Holyoke teen who died from COVID-19 complications | News

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Gigi Rodriguez, an eighth grader at Holyoke Community Charter School, was on her last day of quarantine when she collapsed and died just over a week ago. Her death sent shockwaves through the community and now, her aunt told us school officials want to ensure her legacy lives on.







HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — After a 13-year-old Holyoke student’s tragic death from COVID-19 complications, her aunt is speaking exclusively with Western Mass News about how her school is planning to remember her.

Gigi Rodriguez, an eighth grader at Holyoke Community Charter School, was on her last day of quarantine when she collapsed and died just over a week ago. Her death sent shockwaves through the community and now, her aunt told us school officials want to ensure her legacy lives on.

“I feel grateful the fact they’re still thinking about her and it’s not just happened and now let’s move on,” said Gigi’s aunt, Celia Rodriguez.

Rodriguez spoke exclusively with Western Mass News about how Holyoke Community Charter School plans to honor her niece, Gigi, who tragically passed away from COVID-19 complications on October 22, just 12 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

“They’re going to do a tree planting and a memorial stone…The fact that they are still thinking about her, it puts a smile in my heart,” Rodriguez noted.

The death of Gigi, combined with the more than 20 students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 in the last week, led to the school to move to remote learning until Monday, November 8.

Over 800 students and staff at the K-8 school are being asked to get tested on Tuesday in order to return to the classroom next week, but Rodriguez still has her concerns.

“Just because anyone can bring it in and it spreads fast,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has a daughter in third grade at the school, who she said will get tested on Tuesday at a vaccine clinic held at the charter school, but she’s not so sure she’ll be sending her daughter back anytime soon.

“She will not be attending school. I’m thinking that maybe after the holidays. I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Rodriguez explained.

We also sat down with Acting Holyoke Mayor Terry Murphy to get answers about COVID-19 cases throughout the city, which he said is taking a promising turn.

“We have gone in the last three weeks from 43 cases per 100,000 to a little above 18,” Murphy explained.

Both city and state officials will be monitoring the situation.

“I’m confident the state will be watching the numbers and will make recommendations both to protect the students and to promote education,” Murphy explained.

To ensure a safe to return to the classroom on Monday, November 8, Murphy noted, “Let’s take care of each other. Let’s take care of our classmates, let’s take care of our teachers…Nothing else matters if we do not get a healthy situation”

Students and staff must submit negative PCR tests in order to return to school next Monday. For a full list of free testing sites and hours of operation, CLICK HERE.





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