Former students help Gwinnett County teacher suffering from lingering COVID-19 symptoms

Former students are taking action for a metro Atlanta teacher still battling lingering symptoms of COVID-19.

The Gwinnett County teacher contracted the virus around last March.

Ryan Proffitt said his doctor diagnosed him as a long-hauler and he fears his life may never be the same.

"I'm still afraid to go to sleep sometimes," Proffitt said.


He said he is still suffering from chest pains that feel like a heart attack, spontaneous rashes, and muscle pain.

"The suffering I’m going through, which is 10 percent of people that get infected, approximately, become long haulers. My life may never be the same," Proffitt described.

Even though he's still recovering, he's back in the classroom at Lanier High School.

"It was this dilemma of I'm not healed yet but I need health insurance and things like that," he described.

Throughout the school day, the 39-year-old wears a respirator helmet, a face shield, and a mask.

He also barricades himself behind cardboard at his desk over the fear of reinfection.

"I just leveled with my kids. I said, ‘Hey, I’m really in danger here. This is what I’ve been up to. I don’t wanna make this about me. I want the rest of the year to be about you but we have to set some ground rules like please do not take your mask off in my class,'" he described.

After hearing about Proffitt's health, recent Lanier graduate Samuel Denton took action starting a fundraiser.

"I was devastated. I thought it was terrible because he was my favorite teacher," Denton explained.


He went on to say that  "I thought a GoFundMe might help with his medical bills or a better classroom set up for him."

Gwinnett County Public Schools has experienced COVID-19 cases on their campuses since reopening for in-person learning last fall.

Proffitt is among the dozens of teachers who want classes 100 percent online until they're eligible to get vaccinated or the community spread is under control.

"My doctor can't say what's gonna happen with me," he explained.

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