NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The COVID-19 death toll is rising as community spread continues in Tennessee closing down some classrooms and infecting thousands of students and teachers.

Christie Litchfield, a first-grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary School, has died from complications with COVID, according to her family.

Her family says she was a role model, a loving parent, and an all-around good person. That description was shared by many she impacted in her community.

On social media there was an outpouring of love and support for Litchfield, who was described as an amazing person and teacher.

“It’s sad, it’s very sad,” said Camilla Wade, a Montgomery County resident.

Litchfield is not the first teacher to die of COVID-19 in Tennessee following the reopening of schools and optional mask policies.

But left behind is now a classroom filled with students and no teacher.

“I have nephews and nieces and things in school not just in Tennessee but you know you see especially this new variant it’s killing kids it’s not just passing through as very mild,” said Wade.

Tracking COVID in Tennessee
📊 COVID-19 cases among TN school-age children
📊 Tennessee’s Current COVID-19 hospitalizations
📊 New COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by month

Knox County Education Association President Paula Hancock, says teachers across Tennessee need support during this difficult time. “They’re overwhelmed, they’re exasperated, and you know they’re exhausted.”

According to Clarksville Montgomery County Schools, 760 students are out, positive with COVID-19.

Subsequently, 3,666 students are quarantined. 144 Clarksville Montgomery County Schools employees have COVID, while 203 employees are on quarantined leave.

In neighboring Cheatham County another teacher died of COVID-19 complications in recent days.

The school district is reporting 138 students and 13 staff members as testing positive.