Coronavirus News: Schools mourn loss of 2 Bronx teachers who died of COVID-19

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Kemberly Richardson interviews colleagues who recount the lives and legacies of two Bronx teachers

FORDHAM HEIGHTS, Bronx (WABC) -- Friends, family students and communities are mourning the loss of two teachers from the Bronx who died of COVID-19.

Chris Mondal worked at PS 46 in the Bronx. He was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.

The word no was not in his vocabulary. Now the school has been shaken to its core.

Mondal was just 30 years old when he died from complications from coronavirus.

"It's just so hard to explain, hard to think about him, but he just gave his all," said teacher Jessica St. Hilaire.

Mondal was a paraprofessional who never shied away from a challenge.

His uncle said he was so proud his nephew chose the less traveled road.

St. Hilaire is a 5th-grade teacher at the same school and said Chris' magnetic personally reached far beyond his classroom.

"He walked into my classroom and it was like playtime, kids would pop out of their seats and go over there and give him high fives, that's who he was," she said.

Friends said Mondal had asthma and wasn't feeling well, and the night before he died had promised to go to the ER.

David Behrbom was also dealt a cruel hand.

His friend Michael Marconi said he was popular and always had a lot of friends.

Marconi was one of them. They met in pre-kindergarten.

For more than 15 years, PS 55 in the Bronx was Behrbom's second home where he was a PE teacher.

But in mid-March, the married father of two wasn't feeling well and was diagnosed with leukemia, but doctors told the 47-year-old It was treatable.

He started chemo in the hospital and then a few days later tested positive for COVID-19.

That is when Marconi spoke to his best friend for what would be the last time.

"I told him no matter what happens on this ventilator, me and all of our friends would take care of his family, they would be OK," he said.

But Behrbom died on Palm Sunday.

"He was definitely my brother, we weren't blood, but we definitely brothers," Marconi said. "Dave had an aura about him, he had a vortex and I'm going to miss that."

Twenty-one New York City public school teachers are among the 50 Department of Education employees who have died of coronavirus, the DOE said Monday.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE

UPDATES

Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died

New York state

New Jersey

Connecticut

Long Island

RESOURCES

Where are the testing centers

See how our communities are making a difference

Free educational resources for parents and children

How you can help victims of coronavirus

RELATED INFORMATION

Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News

Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes

Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Total count of NYC COVID-19 cases based on patient address