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Two Newark children die within a week: school officials

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NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) -- Grief counselors will be on hand Monday morning at two New Jersey schools after a pair of students died, in untimely tragedies just days apart.

One student, a first grader from Oliver Street School, died after suffering from "flu-like symptoms" and was out of school for 10 days, according to the Newark Public Schools District.

However, the death of the second child, a seventh grader who went to a school a few miles from the other deceased student, remains a mystery. Maria Ortiz, principal at Luis Munoz Marin, told parents that this student died on March 4.

The Newark Police Department is investigating the second child's death.

Both schools are taking precautionary measures and working with the Newark Department of Health, the district announced in a letter sent home to parents.

"Any time a student tragically passes, we're going to take the extra steps necessary to make sure that this situation is safe for students and staff and to make sure that parents know about the situation and know about steps the school and the district are taking, and what's been done since Friday," said Doug Petty, principal at Oliver Street School.

In addition to the letters, the district also made phone calls to parents, district schools spokeswoman Brittney Parmley said.

Officials are encouraging parents to contact their healthcare provider if their child experiences flu-like symptoms.