SANTA MONICA—Kelly Cano, an 18-year old Santa Monica High School student died from an unknown illness on February 11. Cano came down with symptoms of a general illness, including nausea and vomiting for several days prior to her death. Cano’s death is the second of two students within the past six months who have died.
In October 2016, sophomore Vanai Jelks, died from an unknown cause. Jelks came down with what appeared to be a cold/flu like symptoms and passed away several days later. No details have been divulged regarding the cause of death in either student. Prior to Cano’s death, John Adams Middle School was impacted by a norovirus outbreak on February 3.
The school experienced a norovirus outbreak in early February following a trip to the Yosemite Valley, where 90 people including staff and students experienced gastrointestinal illness related symptoms. Since the outbreak, John Adams Middle School was closed and thoroughly cleaned by custodial staff.
Gail Pinkser, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District indicated in an email:
“Parents are concerned now and at this time we have no evidence of any connection between the two deaths. We have been assured that Kelly’s sudden death is not thought to be associated with the gastrointestinal illness, possibly norovirus, that has affected students and staff in SMMUSD the past two weeks, including a few cases at Samohi.”
No known connection has been made between Cano and Jelks deaths and the norovirus outbreak at John Adams Middle School. Officials are still investigating the circumstances of Cano’s death.
Written By Tamika Mahomes and Donald Roberts