Two educators from the same Georgia school district died within hours of each other from COVID-19 on Thursday.
CNN reports that Dana Johnson and Cynthia Lindsey both worked for the Cobb County School District in Atlanta.
According to the publication, Johnson was an elementary school teacher at Kemp Elementary and did suffer from pre-existing conditions. While Lindsey was a paraprofessional at the Sedalia Park Elementary school, according to the outlet.
“Teachers are willing to take a bullet for our kids. We shouldn’t have to be willing to, in the middle of a pandemic, die from a disease because we want to be teachers,” Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, said.
Another educator, Patrick Key, died on Christmas Day, also from coronavirus. An art scholarship has been created in his honor.
According to elementary school teacher Justin Julian, the loss of coworkers has taken an emotional toll on educators, on top of the pandemic’s stress. Julian said the teachers believe the safest option is to work from home, with classes taking place virtually.
Cobb County has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. According to the county’s COVID dashboard, there have been more than 58,000 coronavirus cases, and 688 deaths have been recorded. More than 2,500 have been hospitalized.
Due to the high number of cases, teachers and some parents have been pushing for all virtual classes. Because of the high number of staff and students who have had to quarantine recently, the school district had to cancel in-person classes until January 25.
“The separation period will allow our staff and students to return on January 25 after a time of quarantine, better prepared to teach and learn in face-to-face and remote classrooms to honor the instructional delivery models our families have chosen,” said the school district in an announcement on Friday.