Women’s History Month: Leah Sykes recounts teaching during the COVID pandemic

Leah Sykes
Leah Sykes(Adria Goins)
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 5:29 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The first days of the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t too long ago. Educators across the country had to learn how to do their job while still protecting themselves and their students.

Leah Sykes is an eighth-grade English teacher at Greenacres Middle School in Bossier City. She has witnessed the devastating consequences of COVID-19 firsthand. When the pandemic started, she was teaching at the Red River School District.

The first wave quickly consumed every aspect of her life.

“I literally had to go into this every day. The hardest part was adjusting to change, making sure kids were staying in their groups or staying where they needed to be, mask on, the whole nine yards.”

Sykes said she felt a sense of fear often while managing the pandemic and her classroom in the beginning.

“I couldn’t think about that. If I left that at the forefront of my mind, I wouldn’t be able to do what I needed to do as a teacher. I couldn’t think about that.

“For me personally I contracted Covid so that was scary for me. Am I going to survive this? What will happen if I don’t? I think those are things that run through everybody’s mind if they do contract it but initially, I didn’t even think about myself.”

Not only did Sykes worry about her student’s health and education, but she also felt the same concern for her three small children.

“When Covid first started I tried to keep them at home and tried to still go to work and I’m just like I can’t do this. They need a teacher.”

“I just did it what I head to do. I didn’t think about it. I talked to my children and told them I have to keep them safe, so they needed wear their mask and wash their hands. We got up every morning, did what we needed to do to get ready, then everybody went their separate ways and we all returned home, and we were together in one piece.”

Each week during March KSLA News 12′s Adria Goins will be highlighting inspirational women from the ArkLaTex who have made history fighting a relentless war in our community by keeping neighbors, families, and strangers safe from COVID-19.

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