Toronto school staff member dies after reportedly contracting COVID-19
TORONTO -- A Toronto school board says one of its staff members has died after she contracted COVID-19.
The Toronto Catholic School Board says the staff member was a child youth worker at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in North York. She is the first school staff member known to have died of the disease since schools reopened in Ontario in September.
“We’ve recently learned of a tragic death of a staff member of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. This unfortunate news is a huge loss,” the board said.
“Supports are available to the impacted school community. At this time, we are focused on supporting staff and students and respecting the privacy of the grieving family and staff member.”
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation identified the staff member as Ingrid Salt to CTV News Toronto. They said Salt was a 67-year-old woman with pre-existing medical conditions that made her more susceptible to severe infection. She reportedly tested positive earlier this week and died Wednesday morning.
The sources said that Toronto Public Health, which confirmed the transmission was community based, investigated the situation. They reported that she tested positive “earlier this week” and died on Wednesday morning.
The North York school released a statement on Wednesday confirming the loss of one of its staff members.
"It is with great sadness that we share with you the news of the death of one of our beloved staff members, who passed away early this morning," the school stated.
"She was a well-known, dedicated and respected member of our community, having taught at our school for decades and was most recently the child and youth worker in one of our intensive support programs. She will be missed by our entire community."
Toronto Public Health issued a statement on Wednesday to extend their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the staff member who died.
"We are saddened to learn of the passing of a staff member of our school community, and we extend our sincere condolences to their family, friends and colleagues of this individual during this difficult time," the health agency said.
Susel Munoz is parent with children at the school and a community advocate who has known Salt for 11 years.
Munoz described Salt as devoted and passionate, a woman always willing to help and support families, and who talked about never planning to retire.
“She used to always joke and say, ‘I will go until the day I die’. I think she actually did that. She stood up until the end,” said an emotional Munoz.
“Because she was so loving and she would always interact with everyone. It’s something that’s definitely going to stay with us for many years to come.”
The Toronto District Catholic School board said students in the classroom, where the staff member worked, are all self-isolating, but the school remains open.
More than 3,600 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Ontario schools since mid-September, including at least 461 cases involving staff.
Ford commented on the death on Wednesday as he voiced his frustrations with anti-maskers and those not taking the prescribed health advice seriously.
“It’s okay for some people, they are young, they get it, god willing they get through it,” he said. “But how about their parents, how about their grandparents, how about, my prayers and thoughts go out to the teacher that lost her life over COVID, how about [her].”