NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Superintendent of Schools Bryan Luizzi is offering reassurances and guidance to parents after a 10-year-old boy from New Canaan died suddenly over the weekend.
Nico Mallozzi died Sunday after he became ill at a hockey tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. The cause of his unexpected death has not been determined, but the West School fourth-grader had tested positive for Influenza B, Luizzi said in a statement late Monday.
The superintendent said the school district has taken the precaution of having the custodians perform extra “cleanings” at all school buildings, he said.
"These efforts will continue throughout the Influenza season."
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , “Studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only two to eight hours after being deposited on a surface. Therefore, special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning, including closing schools to clean every surface in the building, are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of flu, even during a flu outbreak.”
"Nonetheless, we will continue our extra cleanings, especially during weekends and school breaks, in the months ahead," Luizzi said.
Also, parents are invited to go to West School from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to meet with district staff and ask questions.
Jan Murphy, the principal at West Elementary, said the school's crisis team has met to develop a plan to support the students, parents, and faculty.
She suggested that all parents inform their children of the death before they return to class from the long weekend.
On Tuesday, students will go directly to their classrooms and participate in a Morning Meeting. School psychologists, the social worker, administrators and the school nurse will be available for students.
"Counselors at all schools are ready to assist students and parents tomorrow and beyond, as we continue to struggle through this awful tragedy together," Luizzi said.
Luizzi also warned parents that Influenza poses a serious health risk, and "regardless of its possible connection with this tragedy, it is important for everyone to take appropriate precautions, including receiving the influenza vaccination."
Additionally, anyone who experiences flu symptoms should seek medical advice. Parents are asked to keep children home who do not feel well, he said.
The Influenza B is spreading in the Northeast, and over 1,000 cases of the flu with 15 flu-related deaths in Connecticut so far this flu season.
Symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
"Our hearts go out to Nico and his entire family, and may they find some comfort knowing that they are in our thoughts and prayers," Luizzi said in a statement.
"Nico was a wonderful, enthusiastic, outgoing boy who was known school-wide for his high spirits, limitless energy, and quick smile. He loved sports, especially gathering up his friends to play football at recess, and was a devoted hockey player and teammate. We will miss Nico terribly, and will always cherish our memories of him as a vibrant, fun-loving boy."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.