SWANZEY CENTER — Classes are scheduled to resume Tuesday at Monadnock Regional Middle/High School as the community mourns the death of a longtime teacher over the weekend.
Deb Morris, 68, died at home Sunday after suffering a “sudden medical emergency,” Superintendent Lisa Witte said Monday afternoon, adding that Morris’ death does not appear related to COVID-19. The middle/high school, where Morris worked since 2007, most recently as a middle-school math teacher, was closed Monday to give staff time to prepare resources for grieving students and employees, Witte said. She added that the district learned of Morris’ death late Sunday and did not feel prepared to provide those services by Monday morning.
“We wanted to make sure we had the time to prepare, make sure we have everything we needed to welcome students back and provide support for them,” Witte said in a phone interview Monday. “And today was a day where we provided some support for our employees who were both colleagues and friends of Mrs. Morris.”
The school will offer grief-counseling resources for all students and staff who need them, according to a news release from the district. Witte said that includes bringing in counselors from other schools in the district — which covers Fitzwilliam, Gilsum, Richmond, Roxbury, Swanzey and Troy. The district directly contacted families of students currently enrolled in Morris’ classes and informed them of the counseling services available.
Services and arrangements for Morris have not yet been announced, according to the release. In the meantime, Witte said the entire Monadnock community is mourning her death.
“She was an incredible person,” Witte said. “She loved children. She loved Monadnock, and we’re just devastated. We’re just devastated, and at this point, we’re committed to honoring her memory, supporting our students and our colleagues moving forward and celebrating her life. She was a fabulous person.”