Gwinnett County educator dies from COVID-19 just weeks after retiring

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County educator died from COVID-19 complications and her family is concerned she contracted the virus from school.

Maude Jones, 64, was a special education paraprofessional at Rock Springs Elementary and worked in the district for over a decade.

Jones’ niece told Channel 2 Action News that her aunt was sent home to quarantine Dec. 7 when another teacher tested positive.

A few days later, Jones tested positive for COVID-19. She died last Monday.

“This is a big blow. This is a loss we could never recover,” her niece Joan Jones told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas. “She’s the glue of our family. She loved her job, students and workmates. She sees her workmates as family. They were like daughters to her.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

Joan Jones said her aunt was cautious about the coronavirus to where she got tested frequently, skipped gatherings and rarely went to the grocery store.

She told Thomas that Maude Jones decided to retire after she came back from Thanksgiving break. The family is disappointed with the district and has been asking for answers.

“How many teachers have tested positive? How many teachers have lost their lives? This is everybody’s problem,” Joan Jones said.

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Rock Springs Elementary informed parents and students of Maude Jones’ death with a letter sent out by Principal Principal Dr. Allen McGee last week. The letter did not mention her COVID-19 diagnosis.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share some very sad news with you. Our school community was saddened to learn today of the passing of Ms. Maude Jones. Ms. Jones, who was a paraprofessional in a self-contained special education class at our school, joined our staff in 2018. In her role, she worked with a small number of students, doing so in a caring and respectful manner,” McGee wrote.

“Although Ms. Jones would not have been returning to our school this semester as she had retired in December, I knew our Rock Springs family would want to know of our loss. Losing a teacher, co-worker, and member of our school family is hard. We met with our staff members earlier today and we are notifying the families of students who had worked with Ms. Jones this year. We know that dealing with a loss can be difficult, even more so in these times. I encourage any of our school family who may want to speak to someone to reach out to the school and we will arrange appropriate counseling support. Again, we wanted you to be aware of our school community’s loss. I know your thoughts and prayers will be with Ms. Jones’ family, the students she supported, and our school staff during this difficult time.”

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