Coronavirus News: 21 teachers among 50 NYC education employees dead of coronavirus

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020
50 NYC education employees dead of coronavirus
Jim Dolan has more on the NYC teachers and educators who lost their lives to COVID-19.

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

"Our thoughts are with their families, loved ones, and school communities during this difficult time. Upon notification of each passing the DOE is providing school communities with the mental health and emotional supports to process these losses. We are also supporting staff in notifying their communities in the most appropriate way possible, while respecting the wishes of families," the DOE wrote in a statement.

As of April 10, 2020, the 50 employees who have passed as reported by their family members and loved ones:

22 are paraprofessionals

21 are teachers

2 are administrators

1 is a facilities staffer

1 is a guidance counselor

1 is a food service staffer

2 central office employees

1 employee listed above was also staffing a REC

"This is painful news for too many of our communities-each number represents a life, a member of one our schools or offices, and the pain their loved ones are experiencing is unimaginable. We will be there to support our students and staff in any way they need, including remote crisis and grief counseling each day. We mourn these losses and will not forget the impact each person had on our DOE family," Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said.

The NYC Health Department cannot confirm the details or locations of exposure for every case, and is not confirming individual cases.

However, the United Federation of Teachers is trying to tell the stories of some of its members who have died and says the loss to the children they served is incalculable.

Some of those lost include Claudia Shirley who taught Spanish at PS 45 in Brooklyn and then PS 377. They called her Mama Shirl and respected her patience and her warmth.

She had a deep-rooted faith in the value of education.

Sandra Vizcaino was a dual language teacher at PS 9 in Prospect Heights for 25 years.

One colleague said she lived for teaching. Her students loved her and shared their stories with her. Her colleagues respected her for her dedication and long hours.

David Behrbom taught physical education at PS 55 in the Bronx for the last 15 years. He shared with his students a love for hip hop and one colleague said he always offered a hand to anyone in need.

He organized Olympic games every year at the school to see students come together in competition.

Carol King-Grant taught special education for 6th-graders at the Mott Hall Science and Technology Academy for six years. She dedicated her life, as teachers do, to a better future for the children.

The DOE says the data should not be considered a subset of the mayor's daily briefings because those numbers are confirmed by the City's Health Department.

"School buildings are not a place of greater exposure than any other part of our city. At this time, everyone should assume they have been exposed, because exposure can happen anywhere - this is why we are asking people to please stay home as much as possible," the DOE said.



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