Teacher becomes newborn’s temporary guardian after student’s family tests positive for COVID-19

Teachers are everyday heroes who don’t receive enough recognition for all of the hard work and dedication they put into educating our children. Not only do they spend time with our children in the classroom, but often times they are working long hours outside of the classroom to make sure our children are fed, loved, and prepared for the world.

On April 4, Luciana Lira received a frantic call from the mother of one of her students. The mother, Zully, informed Luciana, a teacher in Connecticut, that she was in the hospital about to give birth and she needed help.

She had tested positive for coronavirus and she and her husband, Marvin, didn’t have anyone else in the country that they could call for help.

They are reportedly from Guatemala and seeking asylum.

Luciana spoke to Marvin and he expressed his concerns that he and his seven-year-old son, Junior, Luciana’s student, also had the virus.

He asked if she would take care of their child while his family recovered.

Without hesitation, Luciana accepted.

Zully gave birth via C-section to Neysel and Luciana became his temporary guardian.

She brought him to her home where she cared for him like her own son all while continuing to teach her students remotely.

Unfortunately, shortly after Neysel’s birth, Zully became extremely ill and she had to be placed on a ventilator. But thankfully, on April 18 her condition had improved and she was able to extubated.

Two days later she was able to see her baby for the first time, albeit through a Zoom video call.

Less than a week later, Zully was discharged from the hospital and returned home to Marvin and Junior. For now, Neysel will remain in Luciana’s care until the entire family tests negative for the coronavirus.

Luciana’s extreme generosity has earned her praise from her community. Her friend, Joy Colon, shared her story on Facebook.

Essential workers are out there working every day. We’re all at home, working and groping for an understanding of this new normal that caught all of us off guard. But this unselfish act reminds us that our humanity makes us all essential…to each other. How will each of us respond when we are asked to simply show up and help.

Thank you, Luciana. You are more than “just a teacher.” You are an incredibly selfless human being. Thank you for stepping up when someone needed you.

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