February 22, 2021

Dear Woodbridge Middle School Parents/Guardians:

I am saddened to share the news that Flor de Luz Cervantes, a school nutrition services employee here, has passed away due to COVID-19. She had been on medical leave since January 27. I am in contact with her family to provide support. Members of our Critical Incident Team will be available to assist students and staff in coping with their sadness.

Please pay attention to your student’s emotional needs during the next few weeks, especially if he/she knew Ms. Cervantes. The following suggestions may be helpful to your student:

Encourage your child to talk with you about the feelings he/she may be experiencing concerning life and death. Sharing similar experiences that you have had may be very useful. Let your student know you are available to talk about this loss and to answer questions.

Be aware that your child may not feel like himself/herself for a while. Talk about ways to feel better.

Watch for ongoing signs of difficulty, which could indicate that your child may need additional help. Some of the signs to watch for include: prolonged sadness, withdrawal from social contacts, a change in eating or sleeping habits, or other behaviors unusual for your student.

Initiate a discussion of life and death with your child. Research has shown that this helps the healing process.

If you need assistance, please feel free to contact the school’s Counseling Office at 703-494-3181. Our counselors can provide additional information on school and community resources. Furthermore, if any student needs emotional support during this stressful time, he/she can email studentsupportservices@pwcs.edu to receive virtual support. Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) will have counselors and other school-based mental health staff respond to any student who needs assistance.

This is a difficult time for our school community, but Woodbridge students and staff will support each other as we deal with this loss. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

Sincerely,

Angela Owens

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