Detroit school closes after student dies of ‘unusually high rate’ of illnesses

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A spokesperson for the Detroit Public Schools Community District said Wednesday that a kindergartener had died and they were temporarily closing a school for deep cleaning after an “unusually high rate” of flu-like symptoms.

The Garvey Academy on Van Dyke in Detroit closed Wednesday and will remain closed through Monday, officials said.

The district and city health department reported that the kindergarten child died last week. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

The Detroit Health Department said it was assessing increased illnesses at two elementary schools in the city. When the city’s health department received reports of illnesses at one of the schools, a team from the department visited the school to help assess, monitor and review deep cleaning protocols.

The health department makes every effort to trace all reported illnesses.

Health officials say parents and caregivers should monitor and “seek medical attention promptly” if children ages 4 to 7 have these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also works with the city’s health department and school district.
A full statement from the district is below:

“Tragically, last week, one of our kindergarten students at Marcus Garvey passed away. At this time, the medical examiner has not determined the cause of death. This week, the school experienced an unusually high of flu-like symptoms, including student fevers, and vomiting, namely in early grades. We have actively communicated with the Detroit Health Department about these cases and have mutually agreed that the best plan of action at this time is to close the school until Monday to allow families to monitor their children’s symptoms and to thoroughly clean the school.”

Dr. Claudia Richardson, Medical Director of the Detroit Department of Health, released the following statement:

“The Detroit Health Department is working with the Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to assess an apparent increase in illnesses among students at two elementary schools located in Detroit.

“After receiving reports of symptomatic students at an elementary school, the Detroit Health Department responded by dispatching a team to the scene to assist DPSCD management in assessing, monitoring the review of deep cleaning protocols and As a precautionary measure, the DPSCD has notified the parents/caregivers of the students, and the school has closed today and will remain closed for the remainder of the school week to allow for a thorough cleaning.

“The Detroit Department of Health is working closely with DPSCD and MDHHS to monitor and trace all reported illnesses among students at this location. We do not yet have confirmation on the cause of the illness and will share these information with the Detroiters once this information has been confirmed.

“Parents/guardians of children 4-7 years old should monitor their children for symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if their child exhibits the following symptoms:

Nausea Vomiting
Abdominal pain

“The Detroit Health Department offers vaccines for children and adults to protect against many childhood diseases. Vaccines are also available at pediatric centers and primary care providers. For more information, please call 313-876 -4667 or visit our website: (”

More information about vaccinations for childhood illnesses can be found on the Detroit Department of Health’s website or by calling 313-876-4667.

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