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Idaho principal with seven children dies after two-week battle with COVID


An Idaho school principal with seven children died on Wednesday after a two-week battle with COVID. 

Javier Castaneda, 48, was principal and superintendent of Heritage Community Charter School in Caldwell, Idaho, a town about 30 miles from Boise.

He was survived by his wife Maria and their seven children. 

His vaccination status is currently unknown and the school he worked at was said to be mask optional, according to the Associated Press.  

Idaho principal Javier Castaneda, 48, of Heritage Community Charter School died on Wednesday after contracting COVID-19

A GoFundMe Page was created for Castaneda and his family which included his wife Maria and their seven children

A GoFundMe Page was created for Castaneda and his family which included his wife Maria and their seven children

Castaneda began showing symptoms on September 4 and was then hospitalized two days later at West Valley Medical Center. 

He was put on a ventilator on September 10. He died five days later.  

‘Hundreds of his friends, family, and community members have reached out and we are so grateful for their love and support in this trying time,’ Kristopher Wieland, Maria Castaneda’s brother, told the Idaho Press

‘Many have shared stories of how he has impacted their life.’ 

‘One (person) commented that Dr. Castaneda was always out in front of the school to greet students and parents as they came to school each day,’ Wieland told the Idaho Press.

‘One time, the school reached their fundraising goal, and Dr. Castaneda had to stay on top of the roof for the day and greeted the kids from there with a blow horn.

‘Another talked about her child winning the chance to be Principal of the Day and enjoyed spending the day with Dr. Castaneda.’

A memorial service was held for Castaneda on Saturday by Heritage Community Charter School

A memorial service was held for Castaneda on Saturday by Heritage Community Charter School

A letter was released by the Heritage Community Charter School Board announcing Castaneda's death and offering counseling resources for grieving students

A letter was released by the Heritage Community Charter School Board announcing Castaneda’s death and offering counseling resources for grieving students

A letter from the school announced Castaneda’s death and offered counseling services for grieving students.

‘It is with shock and deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Javier Castaneda,’ the letter read. 

‘We know that this announcement will be very difficult for you and your children. It is difficult for us to comprehend this loss and will be even more difficult for our students.

‘The board is committed to providing counseling resources and other support for your children as we move forward from this tragedy, especially when students return next Monday.

‘In the meantime, we will be providing you resources and information about how to talk to and comfort your child during this difficult time.’

A memorial service was held for Castaneda by the school on Saturday with flowers and messages written for their former principal.  

The banner in front of the school read: ‘You touched our lives.’  

 A GoFundMe Page has also been created for the family and has raised over $15,000 so far.

The page provided details about his family.

His oldest daughter was set to be married in a few weeks, his second oldest daughter is pregnant, and their son serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The family expresses gratitude to the love and support they have received from the community.

Another memorial service will be held on September 25 at Mallard Park in Caldwell. 

Idaho currently has about 242,000 cases and 2,637 deaths.

The state also has a 40.7% vaccination rate with 727,000 people being fully vaccinated and 1.55 million doses being given. 

According to Our World and Data, the U.S. has 42 million cases and 674,000 deaths. 55.2% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated accounting for 181 million people.  



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