MARSHALL, Minn. (WCCO) - As a coronavirus variant spreads across Minnesota, a first grader has died as a result of COVID-19 complications. She is the third child in the state under the age of 18 to die from the virus.
Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams says a 1st grade girl named Weekday, who attended Park Side Elementary, died Sunday as a result of complications from COVID-19. She did not have underlying conditions, according to Gov. Tim Walz’s office.
Walz released a statement Monday afternoon in response to the death.
“It is simply heartbreaking to hear that COVID-19 has taken the life of someone so young,” Walz said. “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.”
This is the third child under the age of 18 who has died in Minnesota since the start of the pandemic.
Cecilia Alvarez, who has a daughter in the small town school district, wonders if students should return to distance learning until parents have more information on any potential close contacts.
“Education is, of course, important, but their lives are more important. You don’t get them back. You don’t get a do-over,” she said.
According to the district, 22 students and staff are in quarantine at the elementary school.
The superintendent says they are following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, and no grades are changing from in-person learning at this time.
Minnesota health officials have reported an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations of children. The more contagious B117 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, is spreading throughout the state.
Experts say that about 10% of COVID-19 cases in children are severe. The majority are asymptomatic or mild to moderate cases. Children with health conditions, infants and adolescents tend to be more at risk.