What This Teacher Did For Her Student’s Family Will Floor You
She stepped up when they had no one else to turn to. Now you can help continue her incredible act of kindness.
If we've learned one thing during the past few months, it's that teachers are heroes.
Even now, with schools still closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, teachers are stepping up in extraordinary ways.
That includes Luciana Machado Lira, a teacher at Hart Magnet Elementary School in Stamford, CT, who recently took in the newborn baby of one of her student's parents when the mother tested positive for Covid-19.
Lira had only known 7-year-old Junior, a student who recently moved from Guatemala, since the beginning of the school year. The limited contact she had with his mother Zully and his father Marvin was a few phone calls and parent-teacher conferences.
What Lira never expected was to get a call from a panicked Marvin with news that their baby boy was born five weeks early, and that Zully had tested positive for Covid-19.
"How are we going to release this baby to this father? There's a chance he could be COVID positive," Lira told NBC News of her reaction. "What are we doing here?"
Without giving it a second thought, Lira offered to take in the newborn baby, who the family named Neysel, while Zully recovered.
"I said, 'You know what, if you want, I know you don't know me and I don't know you, and I think I'm crazy for doing this. Until you get tested, I can keep the baby with me for one or two days,'" Lira told Marvin.
Zully was in critical condition after she gave birth and was diagnosed with Covid-19. GoFundMe
So, Lira took the baby home while Zully, who was in critical condition, stayed in the hospital. Marvin and Junior both tested positive for the virus and while they were both asymptomatic, they were ordered to self-quarantine at home and couldn't come in contact with the baby.
"During this we cried a lot together," Lira said. "There were days we would tell each other, 'Let's pray, because that's it.'"
The days turned into weeks, and as Zully fought for her life, Lira cared for Neysel while also juggling her teaching job and caring for her own 11-year-old son.
Here's Lira with her husband and 11-year-old son. Luciana Machado Lira/Facebook
Thankfully, Lira has been getting a lot of help from her colleagues and a few area non-profits that have pitched in.
"I've been getting help from all over and that makes all the difference," she said.
Zully was discharged from the hospital on April 25th but she's still testing positive for Covid-19. The family will be tested again soon. Once they all receive two negative tests, they can take the baby back to their home.
Here's baby Neysel when he was just a few days old...
Lira has been getting praise and thank you's from people all over the world who have heard her story. But for her, it's all part of the job. According to one of her colleagues, when the nurses at the hospital asked Lira if she was a relative of the family, her response was: "I'm just a teacher."
If by "teacher" she means "hero" then yes, we already knew that.
Lira stepped up to care for another family's newborn without a second thought. Luciana Machado Lira/Facebook