The chairwoman of the St. Paul school board is critically ill with COVID-19.

Statements of hope have been sent on behalf of Marny Xiong. Superintendent Joe Gothard said in a statement that the school district community “offers our support and positive thoughts for Marny Xiong and her family.”

“We know her as a friend and fighter; a fighter for student equity, student opportunity and student achievement. Her spirit of not giving up has never been more important. We are grateful for the medical care she is receiving and we look forward to her return to health in the near future.”

Xiong, 31, joined the board in 2018 and is a graduate of St. Paul Public Schools. According to her online biography, She lives in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood and is close to her family, including her parents, eight siblings and nieces and nephews. She has a background in grassroots and community organizing and joined the board “to ensure that all students and families feel welcome and supported in our schools while striving to be part of the change to build SPPS to reflect the values of our richly diverse community.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague and her family,” School board vice chairwoman Jeanelle Foster said. “Marny Xiong exemplifies the true spirit of public service; she is a strong, passionate leader who is always fighting for our students. She has a clear lens of equity, inclusion and excellence. We are united in our wishes for her total and speedy recovery.”