BURNET, Texas - Contact tracing began Monday morning at Burnet Middle School, according to district officials. The sudden death of Principal Jeremy LeJeune triggered the COVID-19 protocol on campus and sadness in town.
"Yeah complete shock. It didn’t feel like he had any chronic health issues, he was always in good spirits, so yeah it’s shocking,” said Chelsey Barner
LeJeune was a regular at the restaurant on the town square, according to Barner. "He was great, really nice. He'd come in with like 2 or 3 other teachers from the middle school and they’d come in, and sit, probably once a week."
The testing at the school didn't provide a lot of comfort for a parent who spoke to FOX 7 Austin by phone. "It doesn't because my daughter texts me this morning, saying that she was freaking out about it because she had direct contact and went to the nurse, and the nurse said, you're fine, and sent her back to class,” said the mom who asked not to be identified.”
In an email sent to parents, Burnet CISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett stated that Principal LeJeune, "was present at Burnet Middle School on Friday." But he added; "We do not believe that any students, staff or visitors will be considered close contacts because safety protocols were followed carefully."
Despite the assurances of exposure risk on campus were low, the mom who spoke to FOX 7 Austin said she will get her daughter tested.
"And then after that, I don’t know. Because if I don’t send her to school she is going to get in trouble for truancy, and if I do send her to school I have to be worried about her contracting this, and we have people with underlying conditions in our family and elderly people, I just don’t know what to do."
Principal LeJeune had an underlying health condition, according to the school e-mail. School officials said he had a rare blood vessel disorder that required hospital visits and admissions.
Here is a timeline, according to the district, of what happened after LeJeune left school Friday. He was feeling well at the beginning of the weekend, but his condition changed and he went to a hospital in Austin. As part of the admission process, he tested positive for COVID-19, although he was reported as being asymptomatic.
He died Sunday evening.
The virus, according to the superintendent, “likely exacerbated” LeJeune's condition.
LeJeune's school bio notes a long and successful career in education. Before being hired by Burnet CISD, LeJeune served 4 years as principal of Dessau Middle School in Pflugerville ISD. He also worked at schools in Luling and in San Antonio.
He earned his degrees at Texas State University when it was still called Southwest Texas State. Two years ago he was named Regional Middle School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.
LeJeune was married and had three daughters. School officials were not able to provide details regarding funeral arraignments.