Gar-Field High School has posted an "In Memoriam" page for a popular math teacher who recently died of COVID-19 complications.
Known to students as "Mr. Z," Richard Zuckernick, had been battling the virus for the past few months, Principal Matthew Mathison said in a note to parents.
"Words cannot express the grief the Gar-Field community will feel from this loss," he said, noting that the school division's critical incident team will be available to assist students and staff "in coping with their sadness."
Counselors will be visiting with each of Zuckernick’s classes this week to offer support.
"I remember for our first test this year, Mr. Z dressed up like Rocky Balboa, played the Rocky song for us and was air boxing on the screen. He was so funny," student D'montae Williams wrote.
"I remember how he would always try and make his students smile, such as before would show up to work with a pink wig because of his students did well on the test," wrote Jamie Serrano.
Zuckernick had been working virtually all school year, but "formed strong bonds with his students due to his dedication and caring personality," Mathison said.
Zuckernick is the third Prince William schools employee to die this year battling COVID-19.
On Feb. 21, Woodbridge Middle School nutrition services employee Flor De Luz Cervantes died after being on medical leave for almost a month. And in January, Dinora Mejia, a custodian at Potomac View Elementary School, and her daughter both died after battling COVID-19. School officials said they don't believe she contracted the virus at school.