‘Dedicated, kind and dependable’: Longtime Crockett HS custodian who died from COVID-19 had big dreams

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A longtime custodian at Crockett High School’s Early College High School, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, has died.

Principal Kori Crawford sent a letter to parents and teachers informing them about the loss of Manuel Alvarado, who worked at the Crockett campus in south Austin for the last 12 years. She is also behind a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $9,000 for his family.

“During this time, he was a dedicated, kind and dependable hard worker that always had a positive outlook,” wrote Crawford. “He was willing to do whatever he needed to support our community.”

Manuel Alvarado at his house in Cedar Creek (Courtesy: Diana Galindo)

When Alvarado wasn’t working hard at the school, his daughter said he would spend a lot of his free time renovating a home for himself and his wife in Cedar Creek. They bought the five-acre property about 10 years ago and started fixing up an old ranch-style house on the land about two years ago.

It was close to completion when he died on July 13.

“He didn’t have a chance to see it, and it’s sad, it’s really sad,” said Reynaldo Rodriguez, Alvarado’s son-in-law. “I really think people need to think about it, that COVID-19 is not a joke.”

Alvarado’s family said he worked at Crockett up until he started feeling sick and was only three days away from vacation. The family and Austin ISD both said they don’t know how he got the virus.

The district said it does preliminary contact tracing for all COVID-19 incidents, and all affected employees are notified immediately. In Alvarado’s case, after preliminary contact tracing was conducted, AISD said all team members who had potential primary exposure or direct contact were ask to quarantine as an extra precautionary measure.

In the letter to staff and students, Crawford said before and after AISD administrators were made aware of the positive diagnosis, protocols were followed, including closing sections of the building to disinfect areas, asking others who may have been in direct contact to quarantine and requiring all staff to continue to be screened for symptoms upon arrival, wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Please know that the health and well-being of our staff is priority, and we will continue to implement and enforce important health measures for everyone’s safety,” wrote Crawford.

Alvarado is the second AISD employee the district has confirmed has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The first was a food service worker from Casis Elementary.

Crockett honored Alvarado during the Town Hall Meetings on July 16, and the school is working with the family to learn how the Crockett community can help.

The AISD counseling staff will be holding an open circle to honor Alvarado’s life, and the district’s school-based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is offering teletherapy services to the entire Austin ISD community – students, families and staff. These services will allow adults and children to access quality mental health support from home.

To schedule an appointment, visit vidaclinic.org/virtualvida or contact the Vida Clinic Care Team at (512) 518-2209 or by email at vidacare@vidaclinic.org. Additionally, AISD’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for staff at (800) 962-9480.

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