Education Minnesota last organization to leave State Fair

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Another familiar presence at the Minnesota State Fair will not be attending this year’s Get-Together due to concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Education Minnesota, a union representing some 89,000 K-12 public school teachers, announced it would not attend the 2021 state fair “due to health and safety concerns”:

In a social media post on Saturday, Education Minnesota said it “cannot in good conscience ask more than 150 volunteer educators to work in shifts … in dangerous conditions,” referring to the controversial decision by the fair not to impose masks, vaccinations or negative COVID tests on visitors.

The group noted that the imminent return of Minnesota students to their classrooms was factored into the decision, saying “the risk to (our volunteers) and their students is just too high.”

Over 150 volunteer educators were put to work at the union’s photo calendar booth, where visitors could normally get personalized calendars while interacting with “Minnesota Education Ambassadors.”

Nonetheless, the organization says it will offer a home version of the photo calendar like it did last year.

The announcement follows a series of other high-profile withdrawals from the fair.

About 150 suppliers will not be in attendance due to COVID-19, staff shortages or supply chain issues.

WCCO Radio was among the mainstays of the fair who decided to withdraw from the event this week, criticizing organizers for choosing the “honor system” to handle COVID-19.

Food news site Heavy Table, which has also been covering fair trade food since 2010, is also pulling out of the fair. The site also criticized organizers for their relaxed COVID policies, saying “personal initiative does not replace institutional mandates.”

The state fair is scheduled to begin Thursday, August 26 and run through Labor Day, September 6.


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