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A longtime employee of Drury University hospitalized with COVID-19 in Springfield has died.

LeeRoy Rogers, 68, was the senior lead custodian. In the leadership role, he worked all over the campus. He was hired in 2004.

Two weeks ago, Drury President Tim Cloyd notified the campus that a staff member, not publicly named at the time, was “battling COVID-19 while in the hospital.”

Cloyd provided an update shortly before noon Monday.

“I am writing you today with profound sadness to share the news that the staff member we previously informed you was hospitalized due to COVID-19 has died,” he wrote.

Cloyd said Rogers had been part of the campus community for 16 years.

“He was a beloved member of our facilities staff and will be missed greatly by those who knew him,” he wrote. “Wendy and I, on behalf of the whole Drury community, wish to share our deepest condolences with his family and will keep them in our prayers.”

According to Drury, no memorial service details have been announced.

“If you wish to share your condolences with LeeRoy’s family, you can drop off cards or other tokens of sympathy to the Human Resources office and they will share them with his family,” Cloyd wrote.

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As of Monday, Drury had logged a total of 138 positive cases of COVID-18. The five active cases include two students, two staff members and one faculty member. There are 11 students in quarantine or isolation.

Cloyd wrote, in late September, that Rogers did not contract the virus on campus “to the best of our knowledge.”

At the time, he praised Rogers for remaining home from work and getting tested as soon as he began to experience symptoms. “Because of their care, we do not believe they exposed anyone on campus to COVID-19.”

Cloyd urged students Monday to take care of their mental health “in time of grief and anxiety such as this.” He urged students to access counseling resources on campus and for faculty and staff to seek help through the Employee Assistance Plan.

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He noted an evening and weekend crisis line is available to all students, staff and faculty at 1-800-494-7355.  

“In honor of LeeRoy, please continue to take care of yourselves and one another,” he wrote.

Claudette Riley is the education reporter. Email news tips to criley@news-leader.com.

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