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  • Melinda Murphy

Teacher's amazing help

Courtesy The Washington Post Elementary school teacher Luciana Lira would often get calls from her students and their parents when they had questions about assignments in her class, English as a second language, especially since her Stamford, Conn., school moved online.

But the call on March 31 was different. It was from a student’s mother, whom she had met only a few times at parent-teacher conferences.

“Miss Lira, my name is Zully — I’m Junior’s mom,” the woman told her in Spanish, gasping between breaths, Lira recalled. “I need your help. Please call my husband and help him and my son. I’m at the hospital, and I’m going to have an emergency C-section.”

Zully said that she was about to give birth to her second child but that she had covid-19 and was in respiratory distress. She and her family had recently moved to the United States from Guatemala. Lira called Zully’s husband, Marvin, and he gave permission for her to communicate with medical staff and act as the go-between for the family. Zully and Marvin asked that their last names not be published for privacy reasons. Doctors monitored Zully for two days, then delivered her baby, Neysel, five weeks early. The infant, who weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces, was sent to the newborn intensive care unit for observation, while Zully was put on a ventilator and remained in a coma for more than three weeks.

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