Kind Teacher Sits Outside With Student Struggling Over Coronavirus Pandemic

Credit: Kelley Close
Credit: Kelley Close

Katie Ricca showed up to her student Hannah's home when she realized she seemed sad in the class Zoom chat.

When Katie Ricca noticed one of her first-grade students was struggling with adjusting to the way of life under the novel coronavirus pandemic, she decided to do something to cheer her up. 

Ricca, who teaches at North Bay Haven Charter Academy in Panama City, Florida showed up to her student Hannah’s home when she realized during their class Zoom session last week that Hannah, 7, was having a tough time.

“It’s been a really hard adjustment for everyone,” Ricca told “There’s been a lot of grace and compassion because you have to understand that most parents are still working, even if it’s from home. It’s challenging to teach your children and work a full-time job.”

Ricca said they are all taking it one day at a time and when she saw Hannah put her head down during the class Zoom chat she knew she wanted to see what was going on. 

“She [Hannah] didn’t want to talk. I could tell she was upset. So I texted her mom and asked if she was okay,” Ricca said. “When her mom confirmed she was sad, I asked if I could come over.”

The next day she did, suprising Hannah with her visit. Hannah and Ricca sat on the sidewalk outside of Hannah's home together while still social distancing.

Hannah’s mom, Kelley Close, was so appreciative of the gesture. 

“They chatted, read books and just talked,” Close wrote on Facebook. “This woman has FIVE kids at home and STILL she sat in my driveway for an hour to make sure Hannah was okay.”

Ricca said it was important for her to spend that time with Hannah.

“I wanted her to see that she wasn’t alone and give her a few ideas on how to feel better,” Ricca said. “I don’t think kids fully understand what’s going on. They see that everything is shut down and scary. I wanted her to see that it’s okay to be sad, but we will get through this together.”