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Family, community mourn loss of educator in Columbia County

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 3:49 PM EST
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Columbia County educator passed away after she tested positive for COVID-19, according to her family.

Her family confirmed with News 12 that Jennifer Watkins passed away Monday. They tell us she was COVID-positive when she was admitted into the emergency room and later passed away after suffering from respiratory distress. She also suffered from asthma.

She was employed at South Columbia Elementary School as an instructional specialist.

“When we got the email about it, I was just like ... oh, man,” said Tomisha Childs, a co-worker of Watkins.

But those who knew her best say she glided around the school with an undeniable pep in her step.

“And everybody will probably tell you she was so bubbly. Just kind of the way, she just kind of, walked around was almost, kind of, bouncing. And I think a lot of people will tell you Mrs. Watkins was always good for a laugh,” Childs said.

“There were times that she would go out and go shopping and buy complete wardrobes of clothes for her children that needed things. If they needed a coat in the wintertime, she was going to the store and buying them a coat,” said Allison Davis, a friend and former co-worker of Watkins.

We reached out on social media for kind words about Watkins. And the comments just kept coming.

Davis said: “I’ve seen so many people reach out to me on Facebook who were co-workers, and teachers, and students of hers. And ... Oh, she is going to be missed so greatly.”

And friends say as for what’s next, they say they’re going to carry that vivacious spirit with them so it never leaves the school halls.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the legacy of Jennifer Watkins lives on and she is never forgotten,” Davis said.

Her family tells us she leaves behind a son and a husband of many years.

The Columbia County School District sent us the full letter that was given to parents:

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