Teachers call for more safety options after beloved educator dies of COVID-19

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Teachers, parents and students are mourning the loss of a kindergarten teacher in Henry County after she died from COVID-19.

LuAnn Burns taught at Stockbridge Elementary School for over 20 years. She recently died after contracting the virus.

The teaching community held a memorial for the beloved educator at the school Monday, reflecting on the passion and love burns had for education and her students.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

After the service, teachers didn’t go back to their classroom. They instead held a “hear my voice” rally for COVID-19 safety in Henry County schools. Teachers are concerned for their safety with cases continuing to rise and they want more done to protect them.

Channel 2′s Kristen Holloway spoke to one teacher who taught alongside Burns for 17 years and called her a dear friend.

She said she understands the enormous responsibility the superintendent has to make a decision for everyone and she understands but some kids don’t learn well virtually but she wants to the district come up with a better plan to keep teachers safe.

“One death is too many. We can’t teach from the grave,” said teacher Molly Hammer. “We can get kids caught up when it’s safe, when we’re in a safe environment. We will be able to get kids caught up because we are good teachers.”


A district spokesperson told Holloway there were three positive cases at Stockbridge Elementary over the holidays and at least 16 staff members had to quarantine because either they were exposed or also tested positive for COVID.

Teachers want the district to move to virtually learning and they’re meeting with the superintendent this week to see if that’s a possibility.

The district released this statement to Holloway on the death of Burns.

“Anytime we lose a member of our HCS family, it is tough.  Our board of education and superintendent, along with the Stockbridge Elementary leadership, shared their sympathies and condolences with the employee’s family as well as with Stockbridge Elementary students/families and school staff members.  Our focus is always on supporting those directly impacted in that specific school community with necessary resources including making counselors available to speak with anyone needing a professional with whom to discuss their feelings.”