Eighth school staff member dies of COVID-19 this school year

(ABC 6 News) – Eight school staff members have died of COVID-19 in the current school year, matching the number of staffers who died during the entire previous school year, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The department’s weekly summary of COVID-19 infections and deaths related to schools of all kinds reported one death of a school staff member. Since the first week of September 2021, eight staffers and one student have died of COVID-19. Sixteen staff members and two students have died of COVID-19 infections associated with schools overall, according to MDH data.

“School buildings should be a safe place for students to learn and educators to work, which makes every death related to COVID-19 in schools that much more tragic,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “Minnesotans need to come together to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus so all our students can get back to doing the activities they love and educators can refocus on teaching.”

The Minnesota Department of Health does not provide specific details about COVID-19 deaths associated with schools. Education Minnesota has called on the department to release anonymous summary information about the school staff members who have died and the more than 400 students and staff members who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. This information would help school district decision makers improve safety protocols for students and staff.

The health department’s weekly report is available here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/