THE death of a much-loved teacher who passed away after contracting the coronavirus is being investigated.

Donna Coleman, who worked with vulnerable students at Burnley College, tragically passed away in January after contracting the virus before Christmas.

Now the University and College Union (UCU) has confirmed they are looking into the circumstances under which Donna contracted the virus.

The union also claimed that Burnley College bosses have ‘refused to cooperate’ with them when it came to the disclosure of vital information about the virus.

The 42-year-old who was described as someone with a ‘heart of gold’ left behind several devastated family members and friends.

Lancashire Telegraph:

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “We are all angry and devastated about the loss of Donna. Her passing will be deeply felt by her family, her students and her wider community.

“Too many workers, including those in post-16 education, have lost their lives to Covid. These deaths are not inevitable. UCU will continue to fight to keep our members safe, and for employers and the government to protect their health and safety.”

Following her death hundreds paid tribute to the well known tutor and programme leader, with thousands of pounds raised in her memory.

Leading the tributes, Vicki Coleman said her sister was an inspiration to her and the hundreds who had turned to her for advice over the years.

She said: “Donna has helped countless people both in and out of her work and she’s changed the lives of many more.

“People would turn to Donna for help and she would do her utmost to get them on the straight and narrow, into work and to change their lives.

“We are devastated beyond belief. It feels like we are in a horror story but that it is someone else’s story – not ours.

“She deserves to be recognised as she has touched so many people’s lives. She never did anything for herself, it was always about other people.”

Vicki went on to speak about the devastating consequences coronavirus is having on lives, urging people to take the lockdown seriously.

She said: “People have got to start realising how serious this is. Donna was healthy and had never been sick a day in her life.

“This virus is ripping through our communities and as a consequence we’ve lost our beautiful Donna at 42.”

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: “Donna’s death is an appalling tragedy and we are supporting her family at this difficult time.

“UCU is investigating the circumstances that led to Donna’s death, including whether she contracted Covid through her work at Burnley College.

“Unfortunately, the college is refusing to disclose whether it knows if it has had any Covid outbreaks.

“Prior to Donna’s death we had rejected the college’s risk assessments because of their poor Covid controls. We have also raised our health and safety concerns with the college and with the Health and Safety Executive, the government body that polices workplace safety.”

Burnley College has been contacted for a comment.