5th Minnesota school staff member dies of COVID-19

A fifth Minnesota school staff member has died from COVID-19 amid the pandemic, according to a weekly report released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

This is the second death of a PreK-12 school staff member in two weeks, according to the data. MDH did not release further details regarding the deaths.

While school teachers and staff were among the first groups to become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, not all have been vaccinated yet. Education advocates are urging the public to keep this in mind as some may be planning trips for spring break, causing more potential spread of the virus.

"Everyone wants to be done with this pandemic, but it’s not done with us," said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, in a press release. "More educators are getting vaccinated every day, but we’re not over the finish line. Please look out for the health of your school community and wear your mask, keep your distance and get vaccinated as soon as you can."

Earlier this month, Gov. Tim Walz announced 90 percent of the state's school districts and charter schools are offering some form of in-person learning.

As of this week, there have been 16,185 total COVID-19 cases—7,465 staff cases and 8,720 student cases—linked with school staff or students attending school while they were able to spread the virus, according to MDH data.