Park Side student dies of COVID-19 complications

MARSHALL — An elementary school student in Marshall has died of complications from COVID-19, the Marshall Public School District said Monday.

Superintendent Jeremy Williams said the district learned a girl in the first grade at Park Side Elementary died Sunday.

The student had no underlying health conditions, the Minnesota Department of Health said.

In a letter sent out to families in the Marshall Public School District Monday, Williams said the news came with “great sorrow,” and he said crisis team members would be on hand to help support students.

“I recognize this is scary and concerning for many. We encourage you to continue to watch your students for any signs of COVID,” Williams said in the letter. “If your student begins to show symptoms, please bring them in to be tested right away.”

“It is simply heartbreaking to hear that COVID-19 has taken the life of someone so young,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement Monday. “My thoughts are with the Minnesota family grieving the loss of their beloved child. There is no grief more profound than the loss of family.”

While COVID-related deaths in children are rare, they can occur even in otherwise healthy children, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday. Statewide, there have been two other deaths of a child under age 10 from COVID-19 reported. One was a child between the ages of 5 and 9, and one was a child under the age of 4, according to MDH data.

“This sadly reinforces that the pandemic is not over and the precautions that we are taking are not just for our own safety, but for all Minnesotans – including our youngest students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” said Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller. “We must finish out the school year strong. On behalf of our students and staff, please continue to get tested regularly, wash your hands, stay home when sick, wear a mask, and get vaccinated as soon as you can. These little acts all matter.”

According to CDC data, a total of 266 children age 17 and younger have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Classes at Park Side continue to be held in person, with health protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health, Williams said. Health and safety measures include having students and staff wear face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and watching for COVID symptoms, he said.

“Our cases are still very low” across the school district, Williams said. However, he said if parents have a question or concern about their child attending Park Side, they are encouraged to call the school.

On Monday, Marshall Public Schools’ online COVID-19 dashboard showed a total of two people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the district — one at Marshall High School, and one at Marshall Middle School. A total of 50 staff and students across the district were quarantining due to close contact with a person who tested positive, including 20 people at Park Side and two in early childhood education.

Because children under 16 aren’t yet eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important for adults around them to get vaccinated if they can and follow safety precautions like wearing masks, socially distancing and staying home if you test positive for COVID-19, the MDH said.

There have been more than 56,000 positive COVID-19 cases in Minnesota children age 14 and younger since the start of the pandemic, according to MDH data.

A total of 17,659 cases have been reported in children 5 to 9 years old, and 12,847 cases have been reported in children 4 years old and younger.


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