First-grader at Vistancia Elementary in Arizona dies after battling serious respiratory condition

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PEORIA, AZ – A Peoria elementary school student who was battling a serious respiratory condition has died, the school district confirmed.

News of the student’s illness sparked concerns Tuesday over the possibility that enterovirus 68 had made its way into Arizona.

The Peoria Unified School District sent a letter to parents Tuesday evening announcing that the boy had passed away.

“This tragic loss reminds all of us how precious life is,” the district said. A crisis intervention team and counselors will be at the school Wednesday for both students and staff.

District officials said the student became sick over the weekend, but did not know what the specific diagnosis was. The school said it has cleaned every surface and classroom within the school and would be re-enforcing hygiene guidelines with students.

Some parents decided to pull their children out of Vistancia Elementary, near Vistancia Boulevard and Lone Mountain Parkway, until more information about the student’s sickness is released.

Jeanene Fowler, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Health, confirmed the department is investigating. She said they do not know if the boy had enterovirus 68, a severe respiratory illness striking children across the country and being blamed for several deaths.

Arizona is one of only four states that have not seen any reported cases of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Fowler said it is likely that the boy’s test results will be sent to the CDC for further testing.

“While the family undoubtedly continues to grieve, we share in their profound loss. We are committed to keeping the community informed as information becomes available,” the letter said.

Vistancia Elementary has an enrollment of 910 students, according to its website .