With schools closed because of the coronavirus, the emphasis has been on providing students with the instruction they otherwise would have received. But forgotten is the relationship that so many students counted on in the past. That is particularly the case when teachers have died as a result of the pandemic (“Grieving At Home, Kids Face Their Teachers’ Deaths,” Huffington Post, Apr. 18).
For many young people, the departure of their favorite teachers is their first experience with death, and it is all the more tragic because they never had a chance to say goodbye. We tend to forget that teachers often are the only adult figures in the lives of children from broken homes.
According to the American Federation of Teachers, 65 teachers and 10 retirees have fallen victim to the coronavirus. In New York City, home of the nation’s largest school district, 50 staff members have passed away due to the coronavirus. Until a vaccine is developed, we can expect to hear of many more teachers who have perished.
My point is that teachers do more than teach knowledge and skills. They form bonds with their students that can often mean the difference between graduation and dropping out. The coronavirus will afflict more teachers and deprive more students of much needed role models.
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