During the COVID-19 pandemic, public employees across the nation have given back to their communities in extraordinary ways. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have been on the front lines. 

Teachers are some of the most important members of our community. They educate our children, volunteer their time and resources, and work to make a difference every day. For the next few weeks, we will be honoring the hard work performed by teachers across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Teacher cares for newborn while parents recover from coronavirus by RJ Scofield. Reporting for the Greenwich, CT Patch, Scofield writes about Luciana Lira, a Stamford elementary school teacher who cared for a newborn baby brother of one of her students after his parents tested positive for coronavirus. Lira, who only knew the family since the beginning of the 2020 school year, jumped to action when the family asked her for help. A friend of Lira’s posted on a GoFundMe page for the family, “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.”

Even amid coronavirus closures, Emerald Elementary, other BVSD schools growing vegetables for food banks by Jennifer Rios. A Boulder, CO non-profit, Garden to Table, partnered with schools in Broomfield, CO to grow more than 3,000 lettuce plants that will be donated to local food banks. Even though students are out of the classroom, first-graders at Emerald Elementary School were able to plant lettuce seeds the day before the school shut down over concerns of the coronavirus. Since then, teachers at the school have been doing their part to help with the effort. Leslie Norcross, a first-grade teacher at the school said, “The kids love it. Some have never planted a vegetable or harvested one. Their eyes light up. It’s some of their favorite days of the year.”

Tucson’s creative community, teachers join forces to enhance learning during coronavirus by Danyelle Khmara. Through a partnership with the CommunityShare Fellowship program in Tucson, AZ, teachers have been working with local professionals to bring skills to students virtually. From professional photography lessons, to working with the Alzheimer’s Association to sew fidget aprons for Alzheimer’s patients, students and teachers are learning extra skills outside the classroom. Mabel Riviera, a third-grade teacher at the Innovation Academy which is a part of the Amphitheater Public Schools district, said of their work with CommunityShare, “It felt that the most important thing I can share with them (students) right now is love and maybe a little bit of fun. So I incorporated that into our studies.”

Be sure to check back next week for more stories of public employees giving back to their communities!