By all accounts, Sandra Santos-Vizcaino was an amazing teacher — a gentle soul who was as gifted at unlocking the mysteries of learning as she was at dispensing hugs to her students at P.S. 9 in Brooklyn Heights.
But Santos-Vizcaino is no longer with us. She succumbed to COVID-19, having dutifully gone to school up until March 19, the final day of professional development before schools were shut down by Mayor de Blasio. She was hospitalized on the 26th and passed away five days later, leaving behind her husband, Felix, and two children, Victor-Luis and Viviana.
It’s impossible to fully repay Santos-Vizcaino or her family for her 25 years of service she gave to our children, or the scores of other frontline workers across the nation who — simply by following orders and going to work — exposed themselves to heightened risk of infection.
But there is one, critical step that we as a nation should take: Congress should create a Victim Compensation Fund to help the surviving family members of all frontline workers who went to work — caring for our sick, teaching our children, stocking our grocery shelves, staffing our pharmacies, performing essential government services — and died from COVID-19.