BROOMALL, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County community is mourning after a second-grader died from complications from the flu. Now, area school districts are trying to control the virus before it spreads even further.
Matthew Wzorek was just 7 years old. He died on Sunday.
“You think it’s not going to happen around here. You think it’s somewhere far away or something like that, but unfortunately, it’s right in our own backyard. Anything scary like this can happen,” said Emily Young, who lives nearby.
Fear is taking over the Broomall community after Matthew’s death.
His mother, Rebecca Horowitz Wzorek, posted on Facebook, saying, “He was the kindest child and could brighten any room. We are grieving and trying to process it all but can’t understand how this could happen.”
“I can’t imagine what the family is going through. I couldn’t imagine what the school is going through. It’s tough enough to explain to kids that somebody died, let alone died in such a scary and common way,” Young said.
After Matthew’s death, the district said all schools were disinfected. The district also provided grief counselors.
Prior to Matthew’s death, there were no reported juvenile deaths attributed to the flu in Pennsylvania.
Elsewhere in Delaware County, the Garnet Valley School District issued an advisory to parents.
“To be proactive and allay any fears,” Superintendent Dr. Marc Bertrando said.
Bertrando says school nurses have seen an increase in absences. He says they are now making disinfecting desks and other surfaces a top priority.
Bertrando says in a district with 4,800 students, keeping them healthy is a tough job.
“You have little children who are in, for the most part, confined classrooms with sniffles and other things, and like all young kids they touch everything, so it’s really difficult,” he said.
It’s not clear if Matthew had a flu shot, but his teacher is also out of school with the flu.
Public funeral services were planned for Tuesday but were postponed in hopes of not spreading the virus.