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Wiley College officials announced Wednesday a faculty member has died, on the heels of Harrison county officials confirming the county’s first COVID-19 related death. The university announced last week a faculty member contracted a travel related case of COVID-19 but would not confirm Wednesday if Clayton was the county’s first COVID-19 related death.

Wiley College officials on Wednesday announced a longtime Wiley College faculty member had died, on the heels of Harrison county officials confirming the county’s first COVID-19 related death.

“It is with deep regret that we inform you of the untimely passing of our dedicated colleague, Dr. Truby Brenard Clayton, chairperson of music education,” Wiley College posted on its Facebook page Wednesday. “His wife, Barbara Clayton, shared the news with us this morning, and we are heartbroken by his loss.”

The university said Clayton was a 42 year member of its staff.

“For 42 years, Dr. Clayton gave selflessly to the Wiley family, and we greatly appreciate his service and commitment to this institution,” the university said. “His students always described him as a caring professor who challenged them beyond their limits and always encouraged independent thinking. Although his passing is a devastating loss to all who knew him, he will forever be a Wileyite.”

The university, which announced last week a faculty member was diagnosed with coronavirus, would not confirm Wednesday if Clayton was that faculty member.

“We are not at liberty to discuss the medical condition of any of our faculty, staff or students,” the university’s spokeswoman Maya Brown said Wednesday in a statement.

The university did send out a statement on Friday notifying the community that a faculty member had been diagnosed positive for the coronavirus — within hours of Harrison county officials confirming the county’s first COVID-19 case.

“In an effort to alert the Wiley community, we did do a release (last week),” Brown said. “However, we did not name a faculty or staff member out of respect for the privacy of the individual and their family.“

Wednesday‘s announcement of Clayton’s death came within hours of the county confirming its first coronavirus related death, though county officials would also not confirm if Clayton was that patient.

Jennifer Hancock, executive director of the Marshall-Harrison County Health District, did confirm the fatality related to COVID-19 complications was one of the five confirmed positive cases reported for Harrison County.