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Lockport 4th-grader dies; health chief says cause wasn't flu

A fourth-grade pupil at Lockport's Anna Merritt Elementary School has died from an undisclosed illness, the school district announced Friday.

"It's not a case of the flu," Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said. "We have had not any pediatric flu deaths in Niagara County.  There's many things that give you these flu-like symptoms."

Lockport School Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley announced the death in a public statement.

"We are deeply saddened about the passing of (the girl), who was a fourth-grade student at Anna Merritt Elementary School.  Our thoughts and condolences are with her family during this terribly difficult time," she said in a statement.

"The district's foremost concern is the safety and welfare of our students and staff, and we are providing support for (the girl's) friends, classmates, and teachers through district staff and the building-level student services team, as well as identifying other available  support services in the community.  The district has also been in contact with our school physician and county health authorities," Bradley's statement continued.

Bradley said the district is working on trying to control the flu among Lockport children.

"The district has been monitoring reasons for student absences more closely, has prepared a flu guidance document for parents that will be issued next week, and is implementing enhanced cleaning protocols in our buildings.," Bradley said. "Reminders about proper handwashing and staying home when a person is feeling sick are continual as well."


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