5th Minnesota school staff member dies after getting infected with COVID-19 at work

The staff member's identity has not been released.
Publish date:

A fifth school staffer in Minnesota has died after contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. 

Education Minnesota announced the staff member's COVID-related death on Thursday, saying the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed that the individual "died of an infection linked to their work in a school." 

It's the second school staff death from COVID-19 in the past two weeks. The staff member's identity has not been released. 

“The news that two school staff members have died of COVID-19 in two weeks is a tragic reminder that this pandemic isn’t over,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “Everyone in our school community – families, students and educators – must remain vigilant and keep each other safe.”

The tragic news comes at a time when outbreaks are again being reported at Minnesota schools in the weeks after the majority resumed in-person teaching.

In Carver County, schools have been asked to limit activities as much as possible for two weeks to help gain control of an outbreak spread, which involves the B.1.1.7 variant that was first detected in late 2020 in the United Kingdom.

The B.1.1.7 variant is believed to be 50-60% more contagious, and also capable of causing more severe illness, though the current crop of available vaccines are effective against it. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Sixty miles north of the the Twin Cities there is an outbreak at Pine City High School. The school announced Tuesday that it was transitioning high school students back to distance learning through early April. Nine students tested positive and approximately 90 more students were in quarantine, the school's superintendent announced. 

According to the health department, the 674 school-related positive tests in the past week are the most this year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, infections linked to Minnesota schools have totaled a confirmed 7,465 staff members and 8,720 students. 

The weekly report from the health departments shows that seven school staff/students have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the past week, including one patient in intensive care. 

COVID-19 cases have been ticking up again in Minnesota in recent weeks, with a Washington Post article this week identifying the state as one of the next potential "hotspots" for the virus.

Next Up

Kaprizov, Wild

Wild to face Vegas in playoffs; Game 1 Sunday

Game 1 is Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Eric Kendricks

Coller: Do the Vikings have a tough schedule?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 7.54.07 AM

Grand jury indicts 2 with aiding and abetting murder of Minneapolis Realtor

Four people have now been indicted by a grand jury in connection to the 2019 killing of Monique Baugh.

Nelson Cruz

White Sox sweep Twins for first time since 2016

The Twins' offense disappeared in a 4-2 loss on Thursday.

Mike Hughes

Report: Vikings trade Mike Hughes to Kansas City

The Vikings received a 2022 sixth-rounder in exchange for the former first-round pick.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Backup from fatal crash in Stearns County leads to another bad crash

The crash backed up traffic, which led to another crash in which two people were injured.

Gluten free pizza

For The Week: Monster cookies, and a search for the best gluten-free pizza in MN

BMTN food writer Lindsay Guentzel's weekly column aims to make life in the kitchen easier.

Flickr - SIMULIIDAE black fly gnat - D. Sikes

South Twin Cities metro besieged by aggressive gnats

Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has received more than 100 calls in recent days.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater criticizes Panthers' practice habits

The former Vikings quarterback was not a fan of his time in Carolina.



4 added to list of MN schools with 5+ confirmed COVID-19 cases

There are now 11 schools identified by the state health department.

Screen Shot 2020-09-22 at 8.22.07 AM

School near Duluth has 'high number' of people with COVID-19 symptoms

Wrenshall School District is moving to full distance learning.

graduation, pandemic

Person with COVID-19 involved with MN graduation ceremony

A health official said the ceremony was conducted against health guidance.


COVID outbreak forces Bloomington Public Schools back to distance learning

Younger students had been back in their classrooms for just over a week.

Governor Tim Walz

Governor Walz to announce 'sweeping' education plan Monday

The governor will address Minnesota at 2 p.m. Monday.


Take a look at St. Paul Public Schools' back-to-school planning

Families will have the option for distance learning no matter what the state decides.

Health officials recommend MN schools stay open for now

Only 2% of COVID-19 cases have involved people under the age of 19, the MDH said.