Three teachers who shared classroom catch COVID-19, one of them dies

If there’s one thing we should all know by now, it’s that COVID-19 is extremely contagious. What’s more, unfortunately, it can be extremely dangerous to certain people.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic there were those who believed it would a brief affair; that we would face a steep rise in cases but that eventually it would peter out and become manageable.

Fast forward to now, however, and it’s become abundantly clear that COVID-19 and all its detestable ramifications aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Three teachers who shared a summer classroom at an Arizona school all caught coronavirus last month, resulting in one of them dying, according to CNN.

Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, is said to have died on June 26, less than two weeks after she was hospitalized. Two other teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, meanwhile, continue to suffer from the virus.

As per reports, all three teachers observed social distancing rules, as well as hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. Byrd had worked at Hayden Winkelman School District for 38 years, and the community is sorely feeling her loss.

“Losing Mrs. Byrd in our small rural community was devastating. She was an excellent educator with a huge heart,” said Pamela Gonzalez, principal of Leonor Hambly K8.

“We find comfort in knowing her story may bring awareness to the importance of keeping our school employees safe and our precious students safe in this pandemic.”

Byrd began to feel unwell in early June and, after being given antibiotics and steroids by her doctor on June 13, was admitted to the ER and put on oxygen. Her grieving husband, Jesse Byrd Sr., said that doctors called him the next morning to tell him they were putting Kimberly on a ventilator.

“I just had this horrible gut-wrenching feeling just knowing how much of a struggle this was going to be because I knew her lungs were compromised even before this … fear, just the worst fear that you could feel,” Byrd said. “I knew it was going to be rough on her.”

He went on to say that there had been a glimmer of hope when his wife’s condition looked as though it might be improving. Doctors woke her up to see if she could tolerate being intubated while semiconscious, though she eventually had a panic attack and regressed.

“We just prayed for a miracle, and we put her in God’s hands and we said either he’s gonna work a miracle in her and save her or he’s gonna take her home,” Byrd said. “She didn’t make it … It’s been devastating for us here in our home.”

Thus far there have been close to 3.37 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, resulting in an appalling 137,000 deaths. With fears that a second wave could well occur soon, there’s no knowing what the total number of lives lost to coronavirus might end up at.

If nothing else, Kimberly Byrd’s death should serve as a reminder as to the serious nature of COVID-19. This beloved teacher observed all the proper guidelines and still got sick enough to lose her life.

Please, people, continue to take this pandemic seriously and avoid any unnecessary risks. Your very lives, and the lives of your families, could count on it.

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