A Cleveland Elementary School sixth-grade girl died last Thursday, sending the school community into mourning.
“It was very unexpected,” said Barbara Keyani, administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
There have been speculations that the young girl died of the flu, but to Keyani’s knowledge, the cause was not an infectious disease.
No flu deaths for people ages 0-64 had been reported to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department as of Monday afternoon, according to deputy director Michele Mickiewicz.
The family has asked for privacy, so the student’s name and further details are being withheld at this time, Keyani said.
“This has been a very sad time for the Cleveland School community, but they’re pulling together and consoling each other,” Keyani said. “Principal Cynthia White has done a wonderful job with the staff and students as they handle these difficult emotions.”
Teachers met Friday morning to make sure they were prepared to have discussions with the other students. Community resources such as hospice and counselors also were available to work with the school last week.
“The Cleveland community had a lot of support, with hospice and counselors here last week to work with the students and staff. They did an outstanding job,” Keyani said.