New York City’s Department of Education has lost 50 employees to suspected coronavirus-related deaths as of mid-April, according to a new report on Chalkbeat. Included in the toll are 22 paraprofessionals and 21 teachers, along with 2 administrators, 2 central department employees, a guidance counselor, a food service worker, and a facilities employee.
The report highlights that paraprofessionals – who earn around $26,000 per year and represent only around 19% of the education workforce – make up more than 44% of the department’s deaths, clearly indicating that the coronavirus has “fallen disproportionately hard on low-income communities of color.”
“We can’t just keep posting things on Google classroom and not address the emotional [and] mental health needs of our families,” said Liat Olenick, a Brooklyn elementary school teacher. “Kids are losing their teachers. We’re losing colleagues. We need support.”
Read more about how the coronavirus is affecting teachers and other members of the education community here.