Amphi teacher hopes battle with COVID-19 is tale to proceed with caution

Support for teacher battling COVID-19

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Staff, students, and parents filled an Oro Valley neighborhood Monday evening, July 13, to support an Amphitheater School District teacher.

Niki Tilicki teaches third and fourth grade at Innovation Academy and contracted COVID-19 in June.

“It was really sobering thought to hear that she was sick,” said Tillicki’s colleague, Barbara Anderson. “Given with all the re-opening discussions that the schools are having, seeing one of our own teachers come down with it, it really puts it into perspective.”

But now, Tilicki is hoping she can teach a new lesson. One that stems from her own struggle with the virus.

“Somebody like this who took such care and is in such great condition can get this sick, we’re all at risk,” said April Burge. Her daughter, Violette was a student of Tilicki’s last year and the two became close. Burge is also a Writing Instructor at Pima Community College. Which is why she didn’t hesitate when Tilicki reached out wanting to share her story.

“She said, ‘Hey, can you help me write it?‘” Burge said.

The article describes Niki’s continuous five week battle with COVID. With excerpts reading:

....June 19 is a blur. I don’t remember much beyond vomiting everything I tried to eat and sleeping the day away. I do remember throwing up Gatorade without warning on my brand new carpet....

....June 23 arrived with me coughing up my own metallic-tasting blood. I measured my breathing and vomited relentlessly until I dry heaved, producing nothing but stomach acid. The blood left a metallic taste in my mouth and the distinct campfire smell that blanketed our community lingered in my nose.

It’s a harrowing story that they’ve now sent to Governor Ducey and the Amphi Governing School Board.

They're hoping her words are a warning of what can happen to even the most careful people.

"We hope that the governor and all the board of all of the districts are paying attention," said Burge.

Going back to school in the fall is still a topic of unease--

“I’ll be honest, it scares me tremendously,” said Innovation Academy Principal Michael McConnell

That will hopefully find a safe solution. So that the only problem needing to be solved is on homework and not health.

"Hopefully we can figure out how to solve this and put our staff and students in the best position possible because teachers are the heart and soul of our community," said McConnell.

Read Tilicki’s full story here.

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