Norwalk school officials said that a 6-year-old first-grade student at Columbus Magnet School has died of flu-related complications, making her the second child in the state to die of the flu this year.
Emma Splan died Saturday, after a short bout with the flu, said school Principal Medard Thomas in a letter to parents and students on Sunday.
"It is with heavy hearts that we share that a six-year-old classmate, friend, and student at Columbus Magnet School unexpectedly passed away this weekend," said district officials. "Our hearts go out to her family and friends for this terrible loss."
Beginning Tuesday, and for as long as needed, counselors will be available at Columbus to help children and staff through the tragedy, officials said. "In the days ahead, we know that the Columbus community will come together with love and compassion."
Administrators and staff from the district and other schools will be available to lend support as well.
"We will all hold this sweet child and her family in our thoughts and prayers," they added.
Emma’s death comes just a month after 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi of New Canaan, died from the flu. State officials reported last week that 77 people have died of flu-related illness in the state, the highest in five years.
Norwalk school officials report that their schools have not been hit hard, but are still encouraging flu vaccines and to stay home if sick.
"According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our own school medical advisor, Dr. Norman Weinberger, the flu vaccine remains the best choice for preventing and lessening the effects of flu, even at this point in the season," they said.
According to the CDC, signs of the flu include:
- Fever (although not everyone with flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuff notes
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea for some, especially young children
Although the CDC reports that the flu virus can only live a short time on a surface, last month Norwalk schools added a more aggressive disinfectant to their school cleaning supplies. School custodians will continue using it over the coming weeks to provide a deep cleaning, with particular attention on “high touch” areas.
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