High school teacher dies from H1N1 flu

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Gail Stapleton By Jennifer Thomas Gail Stapleton By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A high school teacher died Friday after getting H1N1 influenza.

Gail Stapleton was an English teacher at Higley and Williams Field high schools. She had been on medical leave since Sept. 30.

According to a news release from the Higley Unified School District, Stapleton died as a result of respiratory complications associated with asthma and the H1N1 influenza.

Letter sent to parents:

Dear HUSD Parents and Guardians:

Unfortunately, we have some sad news to share. On Friday, October 30, 2009, Mrs. Gail Stapleton, an English Teacher at Higley High School and Williams Field High School, passed away as a result of respiratory complications associated with asthma and the H1N1 influenza. Mrs. Stapleton has been on medical leave since September 30th. The Stapleton family will not be having an Arizona memorial.

We have shared this tragic news with all staff and counselors. The Higley High School and Williams Field High School crisis teams have implemented a support plan for students and teachers, and trained staff will be available throughout next week. Members of both schools’ counseling teams will also be available at their respective locations tomorrow morning from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Although some students may not be aware of the situation, you may feel a need to speak with your child. Here are some suggestions to help you and your child during this difficult situation:

• Encourage your child to express and talk about his/her emotions. Let him/her know it is okay to feel sad, angry, confused, or even to appear emotionless.

• Reassure your child that he/she is safe and secure.

• Explain truthfully, but gently, what has happened.

•Offer warmth, affection and your physical presence.

• Maintain the routine, stability and security in your child's life as much as possible.

If you have further concerns, please feel free to call:

Higley High School at (480)279-7300 or the Higley High School Counseling Office at (480)279-7323.

Williams Field High School at (480) 279 -8000 or the Williams Field High School Counseling Office at (480) 279-8018.

Sincerely,

 

Larry Rother, Principal, Higley High School
Cindy Royer, Principal, Williams Field High School