Twenty-one New York City teachers have died due to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and make up a portion of the 50 total city education workers who have lost their lives to the virus, the Department of Education said Monday.
In total, 21 teachers, 22 instructional assistants, two administrators, two central office employees, one facility worker, one guidance counselor and one food service worker have died after contracting COVID-19, as reported by their family and friends.
“This is painful news for too many of our communities-each number represents a life, a member of one of our schools or offices, and the pain their loved ones are experiencing is unimaginable,” Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said in a statement, CNN reported. “… We mourn these losses and will not forget the impact each person had on our DOE family.”
New York City is home to the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., with 106,813 confirmed cases and 6,182 deaths, according to the city’s health department, though the true numbers are likely much higher, due to limits on testing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on March 15 that New York City’s schools would close the next day after he faced significant pressure from parents and educators. The school district is by far the largest in the country, with 1.1 million children, and the system’s 75,000 teachers had to move to remote teaching.
The initial closure was until April 20, and on April 11, de Blasio said it would extend until the end of the school year. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed back, saying the final decision on schools is his.
The Department of Education said that they are offering mental health care to anyone who needs it.
“Our thoughts are with their families, loved ones, and school communities during this difficult time,” they said in a statement, ABC7 reported. “Upon notification of each passing, the DOE is providing school communities with the mental health and emotional supports to process these losses. We are also supporting staff in notifying their communities in the most appropriate way possible while respecting the wishes of families.”
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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