State reports first student death, fourth and fifth school staff deaths, from COVID-19 this school year

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Oct. 21, 2021 – School leaders around the state must do more to protect students and staff from the dangerous delta variant of the coronavirus, Education Minnesota said Thursday after the state health department reported the first death of a student from COVID-19 this school year and two more staff deaths. 

According to the weekly update of infections related to schools from the Minnesota Department of Health, 13 school staff members and two students have now died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. The health department did not provide specific details about the student or the two staff members who died. 

“Five school staff members and one student have died of COVID-19 this school year and it’s only October,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “There is no excuse for any district leader to ignore the guidelines for masking, social distancing, quarantining and vaccinations set out by state and federal public health authorities.” 

“The loss of this student is a tragedy that every educator will feel,” Specht said. “We’re asking parents to please reduce the risk of another tragic death of a student by vaccinating their teens. When the vaccine becomes available to younger children, vaccinate them, too.” 

Since August 2020, there have been 38,737 COVID-19 cases associated with schools of all kinds and 363 hospitalizations of students and staff. Sixty-six staff and students have been admitted to intensive care units. 

The health department’s weekly report is available here: 

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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