‘A loss of one is a loss too many:’ Second RPS employee dies from COVID-19

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 10:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A second Richmond Public Schools employee has died from COVID-19, Superintendent Jason Kamras said in an RPS Direct update.

The employee’s name and job title were not released.

“Please keep this individual’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” Kamras said in a statement.

The first employee, who died back in October 2020, was a transportation worker.

Richmond Schools has reported 63 COVID-19 cases since the first day of school, seven of which are staff members and 53 students.

“Our sincerest condolences to the family - a loss of one is one too many,” said Virginia Education Association President Dr. James Fedderman. “Professional educators choose this career because of their love for our young people and our future, and they are out there every day serving all of us. Every one of those educators - they are frontline workers doing the best they can possibly do.”

Kamras is urging parents to get their children and themselves vaccinated if they are 12 or older, saying unvaccinated people are putting the students and staff at risk.

“The loss of the RPS employee underscores the importance of solid safety precautions for the thousands of educators across Virginia who are working in our schools,” said Dr. Fedderman. “We must be diligent, we must do everything we can to ensure health, safety and welfare - we cannot let our guard down.”

Dr. Fedderman says COVID-19 dangers have not gone away, and the VEA is urging educators to get vaccinated.

“The delta variant presents new challenges and again, we cannot let our guard down - not even for a minute - if we want our students to continue to learn in person,” said Fedderman. “That’s why we called in July for universal masking as the back to school season was starting and why we believe everyone who can be vaccinated, should be. We also believe in mitigating strategies, including masks, distancing and improved ventilation for the protection of all.”

The Richmond Public School district has a vaccine mandate in place for employees that requires them to vaccines by Oct. 1, with some exceptions.

School board members meet Monday at 6 p.m. and plan to discuss areas of concern connected to the district’s mitigation efforts.

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