A first-grader from Connecticut has died over the weekend from complications related to the flu. WCBS reported that 6-year-old Emma Splan attended Norwalk’s Columbus Magnet School.
In a letter to parents, the principal of the school said she passed away unexpectedly on Saturday night.
“This is a teacher’s worst nightmare,” Medard Thomas said, adding, “I believe it is crucial for us to find each other for comfort.”
The school is closed Monday for President’s Day, but the principal ordered a deep cleaning of all “high touch” areas before school reopens on Tuesday. Grief counselors will be available on for children, staff and parents.
The girl’s death comes as news of another child dying from the flu shook a New Jersey community on Sunday.
According to a report from WPIX, it was not immediately clear if the influenza diagnosis was the primary cause of death for the student, who has not been identified. If it is, this would be the third flu-related pediatric death in New Jersey this season.
“It is with great sadness that I must report to you that the Elizabeth School District has lost one of its own,” Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said in a letter. “On behalf of the district, our team members, students and the Elizabeth Board of Education, I offer our thoughts, condolences and prayers to the family of our student at this heart-wrenching time.”
Eighty-four children have died this season from flu-related illnesses according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The season lasts until early May.
In a news conference last week, Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the CDC continues to recommend parents get their children vaccinated even though it’s late in the season.