Two Georgia educators die from Covid on the same day

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Minyvonne Burke
·2 min read
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Two Cobb County educators died on the same day from Covid-19, sparking demands for the suburban Atlanta school district to switch to remote-only learning.

Kemp Elementary School teacher Dana Johnson was hospitalized with the disease on Dec. 6, according to a GoFundMe set up to raise money for her family. The married mother of three was later diagnosed with double pneumonia and moved to the intensive care unit.

She died on Thursday after battling the virus for more than a month.

A Cobb district spokesperson confirmed the death in a statement on Friday.

"Our hearts go out to the Johnson family and the entire Kemp community. Ms. Johnson was a valuable part of our academic community. The outpouring of support for her family during this difficult time shows how much she was loved and positively impacted those around her," the spokesperson said.

News of Johnson's death came on the same day as that of another district educator. Sedalia Park Elementary School paraprofessional Cynthia Lindsey died Thursday after spending more than a week in the hospital on a ventilator, according to NBC affiliate WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

The district's statement did not confirm Lindsey's death.

"Every member of our school community has been impacted by the ongoing battle against Covid-19," the spokesperson said. "We continue to ask our staff, students, and families to follow public health guidance — wear masks and social distance — so we can stay as healthy as possible."

More than 100 teachers, students, and community members gathered outside a Cobb school board meeting Thursday to push for fully remote learning in the wake of the deaths, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The crowd held signs that read "No more teacher deaths." People chanted: "One team, one goal. Save our lives." During the meeting, about a dozen people spoke in favor of closing classrooms during the pandemic, according to the newspaper.

The district had already canceled all in-person classes this week due to a high number of students and staff who were told to quarantine. Face-to-face learning is scheduled to resume on Monday with an option for students to continue remote classes.

"This break will provide our families and staff an opportunity to quarantine and work together to fight Covid-19 from our homes by limiting large gatherings, enforcing social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, and regularly washing our hands," the district said in a statement last Friday.

Cobb County is one of five counties in Georgia with the highest number of coronavirus cases, according to the state Department of Public Health. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 47,106 confirmed cases and 638 deaths.