PERU - A girl who died Tuesday had other health issues that "could have made her more vulnerable to certain illnesses," according to the superintendent of the Peru Elementary School District.
Northview and Parkside Schools were closed Wednesday following the death of 8-year-old Jennifer Glynn.
According to a post on District 124's Facebook page, Jennifer got sick Friday evening and was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital.
She was transferred to Rockford Mercy Health, where she died.
The Winnebago County coroner says the autopsy results came back inconclusive, but Glynn tested positive for the flu.
Superintendent Mark Cross says, "While we do not see any specific cause for alarm, we have determined that it is best to take no chances with having students in school until we can make absolutely certain that we have clear guidance from all medical and public health agencies."
The schools have since been sanitized and classes will resume on Thursday.
The following is a message sent by Supt. Cross:
As an update to the student health situation, throughout the day we have had multiple conversations with the LaSalle County Health Department, and this afternoon we were also able to communicate with various representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health. We have also discussed this with the family, and we now feel that we are able to provide you with accurate details and information as we told you we would.
As most of you clearly understand, we canceled school today as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. When I sent the original message to all of you on Tuesday afternoon, it was to inform you that one of our children had passed away. At that time we also had an understanding that the child had died from a health issue that would not have any impact on other children.
The family then contacted us later yesterday after receiving more information that created uncertainty with the diagnosis. As a result, we did not have any certainty as to the cause of death or how to treat, handle or address this in a school setting. We worked continuously to get all of the information we could from both the hospital in Rockford and the Winnebago County Health Department, but we could not get any assurance that the the illness couldn't be something that might put other children at risk. They also stated that we needed to work with our local LaSalle County Health Department, as well as the Illinois Department of Public Health.
As a result, I then made the decision to cancel school for today until we could work with these agencies to make certain not only of what illness was involved, but just as importantly, what precautions we needed to take with our children here at school.
This afternoon IDPH was able to confirm that we have a child who was diagnosed as having a "bacterial illness". Based on the information IDPH has in hand at this time, they are currently not recommending closure of our schools or preventive antibiotic treatment or medication. At this time, there is no reason to believe that there is a public health concern. If information changes from the LaSalle County Health Department or IDPH, we inform you as soon as we receive that information. Our student also had other health concerns that could have made her more vulnerable to certain illnesses.
Prevention for bacterial illnesses is similar to the prevention of any cold of flu. This includes washing hands, covering coughs, staying home in the event of a fever, and contacting your doctor of any symptoms or concerns. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains and cramps and/or fever. If you have any questions or concerns, we recommend that you contact your family doctor or the LaSalle County Health Department at 815-433-3366.
Also, while it may or may not be completely necessary, our maintenance staff has done a wonderful job thoroughly sanitizing both Northview and Parkside Schools.
Finally, students will be in school on Thursday, March 23. Again, if there are any updates to share, we will let you know immediately. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate the many kind comments and your support of our students, staff and school district, and let's continue to keep this family in our thoughts and prayers.