Newport News School Board member sworn-in from hospital due to coronavirus

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News School Board member who’s hospitalized due to the coronavirus isn’t letting that keep him from serving the community.

John Eley won his bid for reelection in May. On Friday, he was sworn-in from his hospital room.

Newport News Public Schools held a swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. Since Eley couldn’t be there, a virtual ceremony was brought to him.

Wearing a hospital gown and a smile, Eley said he isn’t taking this moment for granted.

Colleagues and family, including Eley’s mother, watched online as he took the oath of office for another term representing the South district.

He said the school district, the Clerk of Courts’ office and Sentara Careplex Hospital all worked together to make it happen.

“I never thought in a million years I would be getting sworn-in the hospital,” Eley said. “The hospital surprised me with a beautiful bible, balloons.”

The virtual ceremony brought the board member to tears. It’s the first time Eley had seen loved ones since testing positive for COVID-19 after traveling out of state. He eventually developed pneumonia.

Eley is 36 years old. He told 10 On Your Side he should’ve taken more precautions.

“The virus is really real. You don’t want to be in the situation where you have to get shots in your stomach, where you don’t know if you’re going to make it or not,” he said. 

Eley is awaiting more test results, but he’s staying optimistic.

“Even though I’m down right now, I’ll be back up,” he said. 

He hopes others will use his experience as a learning lesson. 

“I just encourage everybody to listen to the governor’s orders — continue to wear your mask, social distance,” Eley said. “Just be safe. This is something you do not want.”

This is the start of Eley’s second term as a school board member. He thanks the community for their support and continued prayers. 

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