Family members of Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, who taught in the Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District for more than 30 years, say she passed away from COVID-19 on June 26.
District Superintendent Jeff Gregorich says Byrd was team-teaching an online summer school course in the same room with two other teachers, and despite following all CDC guidelines for social distancing, sanitizing and wearing masks and gloves, all three of the teachers tested positive for COVID-19.
“Kim was a master teacher and a wonderful and loving person. She can never be replaced. Our school staff and community is still grieving,” said Gregorich. “We are a small district and she has taught members of almost everyone’s family over her 38 years of teaching.”
It’s a tight-knit teaching community in Gila County, with just three schools, and about 400 students.
“She loved it. She was good at it too,” said her son Luke Byrd.