Chaparral High School teacher reportedly dies from COVID-19 related symptoms


CHAPARRAL, New Mexico (KTSM) – A faculty member at Gadsden ISD’s Chaparral High passed away on Monday from possible COVID-19 related symptoms, GISD announced on Wednesday.

Leo Lugo, who had been a faculty member for a little over a year, was at the school over the fall break to prepare his classroom for his Developmental Skills Class (DSC) when he reported feeling ill. He apparently went to a hospital where the he later passed away.

GISD said the District was notified of his death on Monday. 

Victoria Lopez, principal of Chapparal High, said Lugo was a very kind and caring individual who truly wanted the best for his students.

“He just loved his work, he just loved to be in the community,” Bertha Lugo, his sister-in-law, said.

She said he was a well-known Spanish radio DJ for the station Que Buena.

“He loved what he did he was a teacher, the last job he had before he passed was teaching special needs children,” Lugo said.

The Lugo family said Leo first thought he had a cold, but then he and six other family members tested positive for COVID-19, including his 91-year-old mother, who was asymptomatic.

He was then sent to the hospital and shortly after put on a ventilator and an induced coma.

“We spoke to him and he was like I’m doing okay just pray for me I’m going to be ok and he never got a break,” Lugo said. “He never came out of a coma, he was in a coma until the time he passed

The family said he was in good health and would work out at a boxing gym to stay in shape.

“He only had pre-diabetes that’s why he was a health nut and always going to the gym, we don’t know his body just didn’t accept the COVID he couldn’t fight it until he lost his life to COVID,” Lugo said.

Mourning with the community, the family shares a message to the Borderland in light of Lugo’s death.

“This is no joke this is real COVID is real, take the precautions even if you think you are over exaggerating, take the precautions,” Lugo said.

The final decision for the return to face to face instruction for students in Special Education DSC classes as well as Life Skills Classes and Structure Communication Class will be made on or before Friday, Oct. 9, GISD said.

GISD said that after any employee reports feeling ill that crews begin sanitizing the campus and work location. The District Nursing Department also conducts contact tracing to determine if anyone else was possibly infected.

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