Sep 23, 2021 2:00 AM

🎥 Education official: Kan. middle school student died of COVID-19

Posted Sep 23, 2021 2:00 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state education official said Wednesday that a Kansas middle school student has died of COVID-19.

The child’s death would be the first reported COVID-19 death of someone aged 10 to 17 in Kansas and only the third reported for someone under 18.

(Click below to listen to Education Commissioner Randy Watson's comments on the student's death)

Education Commissioner Randy Watson disclosed the death during a Zoom meeting of a task force on COVID-19 safety measures in public schools appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly.

“On an extremely sad note, I was just informed ... that we did have a student, a middle school student, pass away of COVID just in the last maybe day,” Watson told the group but he provided no further details.

The State Department of Education referred questions to the Department of Health and Environment, but its spokesperson did not immediately return messages seeking more details.

Meanwhile, the health department reported 11 new COVID-19 clusters at schools. The department’s data showed 72 active school outbreaks across Kansas, with 537 cases and one hospitalization.

The heath department’s presentation to the governor’s workgroup noted the “drastic increase in outbreaks this week (is) likely due in part to improved reporting.”