Metro school board members send letter to governor urging safer face-to-face learning

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Thirteen metro Atlanta school board members are calling on the governor to promote safe face-to-face instruction.

Dozens of teachers have reached out to Channel 2′s Chris Jose following the deaths of two Cobb County teachers last week.

The teachers tell Jose they are scared because they don’t want to end up in the hospital. Now, leaders and parents from Cobb, Gwinnett, Atlanta and other districts are calling for better protection.

“Our educators are scared to go back into the building,” said Cobb County school board member Leroy Tre’ Hutchins.

The school board members sent a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp outlining what they want the state to do. They want the state to:

  • Prioritize and optimize access to vaccinations for all school staff.
  • Provide medical grade face masks
  • Collect and review anonymous COVID-related feedback from public education staff.

“How can we get access so that we can resume one of the most important aspects of life and that’s educating our children?” Hutchins said.

“On vaccinating teachers and school staff, that is absolutely our hope,” said Cody Hall, the governor’s communications director. “Right now we’re hampered by supply.”


Hall said there are 2 million Georgians in the current 1A-plus vaccination group. More than 656,000 are currently vaccinated, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health website tracker.

Teachers fall in group 1B.

At Kemp Elementary School in Powder Springs, there’s a growing memorial for first grade teacher Dana Johnson, who died of the virus after spending a month on a ventilator.

“She literally knew everyone. And all of the families. She knew the parents,” said Katey Harms, whose daughter was taught by Johnosn. “I was shaken to the core.”

“How many lives have to be lost?” she said.

Cynthia Lindsey, a paraprofessional at Sedalia Park Elementary, also died last Thursday. Hendricks Elementary art teacher Patrick Key passed away on Christmas Day.

Johnson, Lindsey and Key were all hospitalized with coronavirus.

“I would say to the leaders of the Cobb County School District that they have blood on their hands. All three of these deaths are their fault,” Key’s niece Heather Welch said.

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