The LA unified school community is mourning two long-time teachers who died after contracting COVID-19.
Erica Brown Atkinson and Nicholas Glover had been working remotely, conducting online classes, so that no students were exposed.
Atkinson, 50, was a 5th grade teacher at Barrett Elementary School in South LA. She died on Dec. 29 after battling COVID-19 for nearly two months, leaving behind a husband and an adult daughter, along with hundreds of students who she taught over the past 16 years.
“She’s just the most caring person. You could tell this wasn’t just a job for her, this was her calling,” her niece, Dionna Henry said.
Henry said her aunt grew up in Compton, and turned down opportunities to teach elsewhere because she was dedicated to helping inner city kids.
“It wasn’t just about teaching the basic subjects. It was more of teaching life skills and walking with confidence in this world. That’s what’s needed,” Henry added.
Glover, 53, died Friday after battling COVID-19 for weeks. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
He taught for 17 years at Carpenter Charter School in Studio City, teaching first and 4th grades. His colleagues elected him to serve as a staff leader on the school’s governance counsel, which sets policies for the campus.
“He was the person, our glue, in terms of keeping everybody together,” Principal Joe Martinez said.
When virtual classes resume on Tuesday at the two schools, counselors will join online to help students cope with their grief.
“We want to give our students a chance to share how they’re feeling and let them know it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to cry -- to remember,” Martinez said.
The teachers union’s facebook page is filled with loving memories for both teachers and GoFundMe pages have been set up to help their families.