Lafayette County teacher dies while self-quarantining with COVID-19 symptoms

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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Miss. — Students and staff in the Lafayette County School District in Mississippi are dealing with the loss of a beloved coach and teacher who died while self-quarantining with COVID-19 symptoms.

“I’m in disbelief honestly. It’s just crazy. Life goes by so fast,” said Lafayette High School football player Dylan Houston.

He was shocked to learn Coach Nacoma James, highly respected by players, unexpectedly passed away.

“He was hard on us, but I remember him as being one of the coaches that would always . . . he was always there for his players,” Houston said. “I was just devastated when I heard what happened . . . it’s just horrible.”

The 42-year-old also taught at Lafayette Middle School.

“He did self-quarantine a week ago Thursday,” said Lafayette County Schools Superintendent Adam Pugh. “I don’t know the symptoms he had, but he felt like he needed to do that. I don’t know if that contributed to his death . . . I simply don’t know the answer to that.”

Last Thursday, he was around players during weightlifting and conditioning training

Pugh says the district is following protocols and conducting contact tracing.

As the district reopens under a “hybrid” learning process, the excitement is overshadowed by black and red ribbons, a show of sympathy for their teacher, coach and friend.

“They are devastated. They’re lost one of their coaches. You know our faculty and staff all . . . this was very devastating,” Pugh said.

We’re told James was not around students during the time he was self-quarantining.

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