“I did not think twice about it... When that mom called me asking for help, it did not even come across my mind not to say 'yes,' ” says Luciana Lira

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 07, 2020 04:16 PM

A first-grade teacher from Connecticut has taken up the responsibility of caring for her student's newborn brother after his mother was hospitalized with coronavirus shortly before giving birth.

According to NBC News, 42-year-old teacher Luciana Lira received a phone call from Zully — the pregnant mother of her 7-year-old student, Junior — on April 1. Zully, who was then 8 months pregnant, had urgent news — she had just been diagnosed with coronavirus and was about to undergo an emergency c-section.

"I can hardly talk because I’m having a very hard time breathing, but I wanted to let you know that I need your help," Lira, who teaches at Hart Magnet Elementary, recalled Zully telling her.

Up to that point, Lira had a traditional parent-teacher relationship with Zully and her husband Marvin, who are both from Guatemala.

Luciana Lira
| Credit: John Moore/Getty

During Zully's pregnancy, Lira translated conversations between the parents and their doctors and helped get supplies for the family ahead of the birth of their son, Neysel.

But when Zully tested positive for coronavirus, the family immediately became concerned that either Marvin and Junior may have been infected as well. They couldn't risk passing it along to Neysel after his birth, Lira recalled to NBC.

Zully with a picture of Neysel
| Credit: John Moore/Getty

That's when the parents asked Lira for help, and she generously offered to care for Neysel until Marvin and Junior received their test results that would reveal if they had the deadly virus.

“I did not think twice about it," Lira told NBC. "When [Zully] called me asking for help, it did not even come across my mind not to say 'yes.' ”

"I'm very proud that she felt safe in calling me," she added to CNN. "Out of anybody else, she called the teacher, probably because she felt like she could count on me and trust me."

Neysel was born on April 2 and did not test positive for coronavirus, according to the outlet. But Marvin and Junior's tests later confirmed they had the disease. That meant Lira, who is married and has an 11-year-old son, would have to watch over baby Neysel longer than she expected.

But Lira is just happy she made the right decision and protected Neysel from becoming infected.

“All we could do was cry and be thankful that I had the baby with me and the father didn’t have any contact with the baby,” Lira told NBC News.

Luciana Lira and baby Neysel
| Credit: John Moore/Getty

After being placed in critical condition at one point, Zully has made strides in her recovery. But neither her nor Marvin has tested negative for the virus yet. She was discharged from the hospital on April 25.

“During this, we cried a lot together,” Lira recalled. "There were days we would tell each other, ‘Let’s pray, because that’s it.'”

Over the last few weeks, the parents have been able to interact with their newborn son over video calls with Lira. The family is hoping to receive negative test results soon.

"The family is amazing," Lira told CNN. "I mean, amazing. They love their baby, they can't wait to be reunited."

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