Georgia special ed teacher’s aide dies of COVID-19

Maude Jones' family says she was a committed Christian who never missed a church service and was their backbone

Maude Jones of Rock Springs Elementary School submitted to retire from Gwinnett County Public Schools but ended up contracting COVID-19 before she had the chance.

The special education paraprofessional was already nervous about contracting the virus due to the increase of cases after the Thanksgiving holiday and then her coworker tested positive. Jones, 64, went home to quarantine on Dec. 7. A few days later, she also tested positive and was hospitalized on Dec. 16.

Maude Jones
Maude Jones (Courtesy of Jones Family/AJC)

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The beloved teacher passed away on Jan. 4 at Northside Hospital Gwinnett of COVID-19. She was set to retire after the last day of the semester, Dec. 18, per AJC.

Jones’ daughter Nyenneh Jones, 38, who lived near her mother in Lawrenceville, said her mother was full of life.

“She was a very lively person,” Nyenneh said. “She was happy all the time. …She loved the children she worked with. Her work was so important to her.”

Jones, a native of Liberia, moved to New York in 1987 and then her family convinced her to move to Georgia. She began working for Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2006.

Her family says she was a committed Christian who never missed a church service and their backbone.

“A portion of me has died,” said Joan Jones, her niece. “This is a pain that we will never recover from.”

(Credit: Pixabay)

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She said Maude took precautions when it came to COVID-19. However, when Gwinnett Schools reopened, they didn’t have appropriate space for social distancing and students would take off their masks at lunchtime.

“They’re more worried abut curriculum than worried about life,” said Joan. “If they had waited until the vaccine rolled out, she would be here today. …This could have been avoided.”

The Rock Springs Principal, Allan Gee, did send out a letter addressing the educator’s death.

“In her role, she worked with a small number of students, doing so in a caring and respectful manner,” said Gee in the Jan. 5 letter.

“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.”

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