Lincoln Charter School Mourns Teacher's Death Amid COVID-19 Surge
Updated Dec. 30 with information about a memorial service.
Jamie Seitz, a coach and physical education teacher at Lincoln Charter School, died Sunday night, reportedly from COVID-19.
He taught physical education at the Denver campus of the Lincoln County charter school since 2009. He also coached golf, volleyball and basketball, according to Chief Administrator Jonathan Bryant.
"He is like as close as you can get to a celebrity at Lincoln Charter," Bryant said Monday. "I mean, kids loved him, had a great rapport with staff and parents."
Three of Seitz's colleagues told WFAE he had COVID-19. His family could not be reached for comment, and Bryant said the school can't release that information.
However, Bryant said Seitz fell ill after Thanksgiving, as COVID-19 cases surged at Lincoln Charter and across the state. The school did contact tracing but couldn't figure out a clear source of infection, he said.
"Our best guess, because I don’t know that we’ll ever know, is that there were so many individuals that had come into the school from the Thanksgiving holiday break that, um … it was just sort of an overwhelming week," Bryant said.
The school’s board voted in mid-December to go fully remote until Jan. 11.
Lincoln County has reported 1,005 cases of COVID-19 over the past 14 days — five times the level the state considers a sign of critical community spread. The school pulls students from other nearby counties that also have high levels of COVID-19.
Joshua Williams, a friend and colleague of Seitz, said about 200 people attended a prayer vigil for Seitz at the school Sunday afternoon. Williams said he thought Seitz was recovering, even though he had been put on a ventilator.
Seitz had two children at Lincoln Charter, according to Williams and Bryant.
The school will hold a "Shine the Light" drive-up memorial service for Seitz at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Participants are asked to bring candles or flashlights to the parking lot of the school's Denver campus. Tributes will be broadcast to radios as people remain in their vehicles.