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3 Cobb teachers reportedly die from COVID-19. What we're learning about school cases there

We're speaking to family members and the school system about the deaths of three educators as COVID continues its spread across Georgia.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — 11Alive continues to cover the tragic deaths of educators in Cobb who, according to their families, have died due to COVID-19.

We're now looking into a breakdown of the active COVID cases in county schools since the district returned.

Heather Welch, a grieving family member of Patrick Key, said she’s disappointed at the county’s response.

“They now have three deaths on their hand that they are responsible for," she said. "And I am disappointed at their lack of empathy and lack of leadership.”

Welch’s uncle died Christmas morning. She was hoping another Cobb educator wouldn’t go through the same tragedy. Just this week, we learned of the death of educators Dana Johnson and Cynthia Lindsey.

Since the district returned to in-person learning in October, the district reports that there have been 2,784 confirmed COVID cases, as of Friday.

Of the 17 high schools in the county, Kennesaw Mountain and North Cobb are reporting the most active cases, with 21 and 19, respectively. Only two high schools have zero active cases.

Dickerson leads the district’s 25 middle schools with 13 active cases. Only two middle schools have zero active cases according to the report.

Bryant and Bells Ferry are leading the elementary schools with nine active cases apiece. As of now, 12 of the 68 elementary schools report zero active cases.

Heather Welch said the cases are alarming. She hopes another family doesn’t go through losing a loved one. Welch said in-person learning puts the students and teachers in danger.

“My uncle took the pandemic very seriously. We know that he was exposed at work while doing his job," she said. "While we’ll never know where he definitively got it, we do know he got a letter that he was potentially exposed at work."

A district spokesperson has since issued a statement on the deaths as well, reading:

"The Cobb County Board and District's hearts go out to the Johnson, Key, and Lindsey families. Cynthia, Dana, and Patrick were incredibly valuable members of our Team. The outpouring of support for their families, and voices of our teachers, show how much they were loved and how they positively impacted every student, teacher, and parent who they interacted with.”

“While following the guidance of public health, we remain committed to offering our families choice and flexibility as long as possible," a spokesperson added. "More than 60% of our families chose face-to-face learning for the second semester. On Monday, January 25 our schools will welcome students back for both face-to-face and remote learning."