Union County News

Elizabeth Child Diagnosed with Flu has Died, School Superintendent Says


ELIZABETH, NJ — The Elizabeth School District has reported that one student who suffered from the flu has died. 

“It is with great sadness that I must report to you that the Elizabeth School District has lost one of its own,”  Elizabeth Superintendent of Schools Olga Hugelmeyer wrote in a letter to parents over the weekend. The Superintendents letter is below. 

Dear Parents/Guardians: 

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It is with great sadness that I must report to you that the Elizabeth School District has lost one of its own. 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. 

We have been in close contact with the Elizabeth Health Department which has shared all available information to the present time. While it has been confirmed that the student had been diagnosed with Influenza, it presently remains unclear whether or not the virus was the primary contributing factor to the child’s passing. This matter is currently under investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health as is the case for all communicable illness. 

As you probably are aware, Influenza (Flu) has been widespread this winter season and poses a serious health risk, making it very important that everyone take appropriate precautions. All students are recommended to annually receive the Flu vaccine. Anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of the Flu should seek medical advice from a physician. Symptoms associated with the influenza can include: High sudden onset of fevers, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, severe body aches, headache, chills, tiredness, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. 

We consult on a regular basis with our medical advisor and the Elizabeth Health Department, and have instituted protocols in order to reduce the possibility of additional cases of this illness as well as other contagious diseases common each winter. These protocols include excluding students with a fever over 100 F from school until they have been symptom free for 48 hours without a fever reducing medication.

An additional protocol that the district follows on an daily basis includes our efforts to keep our buildings clean and healthy. Our schools have been cleaned in a more aggressive manner these past couple of months including all “touch points” (door knobs, railings, student desks, etc.) We encourage all our team members to be vigilant and to disinfect any potential areas. The District will continue to disinfect all schools and will continue to be diligent about encouraging good hand hygiene. Hands should be regularly washed with warm water and soap for 15-20 seconds. Again, it is a collective effort, from parents as well as our team members, to vigilantly ensure that we maintain a safe and healthy school community. You will find information on preventative health measures for you and your family at  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html. Information can also be found on www.epsnj.org. 

Grief counseling will be available for our students and team members to assist them in the grieving process on Tuesday, February 20th starting at 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 

Thank you, 

Olga Hugelmeyer 

Superintendent of Schools 

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