Editor’s Note: It's been six months since Dez-Ann Romain, a New York City principal, died of COVID-19, the first known K-12 educator to succumb to the virus that's now killed more than 200,000 Americans. This poem, by senior contributing writer Catherine Gewertz, pays tribute to the more than 400 teachers, principals, bus drivers, custodians, paraprofessionals, coaches, superintendents, and other staff members we have lost to the pandemic so far.
Six months, and hundreds gone.
The column of numbers can be counted
But not totaled.
When each number was a face that welcomed a child —
whether polishing a floor, explaining division, or closing the school bus door —
there can be no sum. Because each lost part
is too vast, too deep, to quantify.
To the list, one said: “Grief like this is just too much and overwhelming.”