By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota, 10 school staff members have died as a result of the virus. This news comes as the Minnesota Department of Health reports a large uptick in new cases among school-aged children.

Education Minnesota said that these mark the first two COVID-19 deaths during the 2021-22 school year. Eight educators died in the previous school year.

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The health department figures do not indicate where the two newly reported school staff deaths occurred, or whether they were vaccinated or had pre-existing health conditions.

“Today is another tragic reminder that this pandemic isn’t over,” Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, said. “Everyone in our school communities must continue doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our students safe and in the buildings. For at least a little while longer, our schools need to embrace masking, social distancing, vaccinations and all the other tools in the toolbox to keep schools open during the current surge of the virus.”

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On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday announced another additional 2,434 virus cases, and 24 more deaths. That continues the trend of rising cases since late July, but at this point, the pandemic is clearly affecting the school year.

Since Labor Day, Minnesota has added nearly 2,200 COVID-19 cases associated with schools. There have also been 11 more hospitalizations, including two students.

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