This is tragic.

Courtesy of USA Today:

Kids begged to go to Mrs. Byrd’s classroom to do art projects.

Every year, Mrs. Byrd taught folklórico dance to her first-grade students.

And though she had once retired, Mrs. Byrd loved teaching so much, she couldn’t help but return to the classroom, her husband, Jesse Byrd, said.

Now she’s gone. Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd died June 26 after testing positive for COVID-19.

She taught first grade in the Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District in a small eastern Arizona community. Before she tested positive, Byrd and two other teachers taught a summer school class virtually from the same classroom. All three teachers came down with the virus.

Byrd, 61, was admitted to a hospital and put on a ventilator for more than a dozen days, her condition slowly deteriorating, before she died. Now, the community is grieving for a teacher her colleagues say was ingrained in the fabric of their school system and a matriarch her family says was the center of their world.

“It just feels like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from,” Jesse Byrd said. “We’ve just felt so lost without her.”

The teachers who survived also say Byrd’s death is a stark reminder of the risks teachers will face if school reopens too soon.

There are school districts all over the country preparing to return to in-person teaching inside of poorly ventilated classrooms. 

Including here in Alaska. 

This is like watching the beginning scenes of a horror movie where you know tragedy is about to strike and are left wondering only who gets targeted first and how gruesome their death will be.