NEW CANAAN, Conn. (WTNH)– A local 10-year-old boy’s death over the weekend could be flu related, according to a letter sent out by the Superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools.
Fourth-grader Nico Mallozzi, of New Canaan, was at a hockey tournament in New York this past weekend, when he left after being too sick. He later died at the hospital .
Xavier HS sends condolences to Nico’s family and the town of New Canaan. A moment of silence will be observed prior to tomorrow night’s Xavier/New Canaan game at 6:00. St Francis Xavier…..pray for Nico. https://t.co/nPV9PaU9yt
— Dave Eustis (@DaveEustis) January 15, 2018
Medical officials confirmed to the school that the child tested positive for Type B Flu. However, it is unclear if the flu is what caused Mallozzi’s passing.
Below is the full letter from Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi:
As we continue to struggle with the loss of our classmate, student and friend Nico, we are strengthened by the love and support that we have experienced together. 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.
When such a tragedy strikes a vibrant young boy, many questions arise as to the cause. From the start, we have been in close contact with medical professionals, who have shared what they know about the situation. At this point, it has been confirmed that Nico had been diagnosed with Influenza B, a strain of the Flu that is currently spreading in the Northeast. What we do not know, however, is if the Flu caused Nico’s passing. The doctors are continuing their investigation, and we are confident that they will notify us immediately when new information is obtained.
As we know, 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 as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of the Flu should seek medical advice from a physician, and please do not send your child to school if he/she is not feeling well.
According to the CDC website, signs and symptoms of the Flu include:
Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (very tired)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Given the possibility that this tragedy could be connected to Influenza, we have also taken the precaution of having our custodians perform extra “cleanings” at all buildings. These efforts will continue throughout the Influenza season. However, please be aware that, according to the CDC, “Studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2 to 8 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” (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/guidance.htm). Nonetheless, we will continue our extra cleanings, especially during weekends and school breaks, in the months ahead.
As parents, it is our difficult responsibility to have dialogue with our children about challenging topics such as the loss, death, and grief. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has many useful resources for parents and families, and I encourage you to use their website to aid your efforts to support and help your child. Some of the suggestions include:
Using language that your child understands
Speaking factually and briefly
Providing your child with ample opportunity to share his/her feelings and to ask questions
Truly listening to your child, and validating his/her feelings through your responses
Being available for your child when he/she is ready, often at unexpected and even surprising times
Counselors at all schools are ready to assist students and parents tomorrow and beyond, as we continue to struggle through this awful tragedy together. In the days ahead, let us be bolstered by the love and compassion we share for each other. 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.