Lake Fenton Freshman Dies After Experiencing Flu-Like Symptoms

School officials are monitoring absences because of sickness.

A Lake Fenton freshman died Saturday after being hospitalized because of flu-like symptoms last week, according to Lake Fenton superintendent Wayne Wright.

Joshua Polehna, 15, first became sick during Christmas vacation. He was a member of the Lake Fenton Marching Band.

Wright said school officials met with clergy members and representatives of Young Life, A non-denominational Christian ministry that reaches out to adolescents, Sunday evening. He said counseling is available this week for students who need it.

He said a letter was sent to parents and posted on the school district’s website today explaining the situation and other information. (The letter is also attached to this article.) He said students and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling ill. In the letter he also suggested students receive a flu shot.  (Find out where to get a flu shot in Fenton.)

“We’ve been monitoring the absences for a long time and our absent rate has not been extremely high,” Wright said. “We will continue to watch them.”

Wright said while some Genesee County Schools have been closed during December because of high absences because of the sickness, Lake Fenton’s levels have been normal. He did say there were a high number of absences Monday at Lake Fenton High School, but he is unsure if it is because of illness or the death of the student. He said middle school absences were up last week, but dropped back down on Monday.

"We do feel we have a very safe environment at school and your children are protected," Wright stated in the letter.

A flu-symptom related death occurred last month when Fenton resident and father of five Kirk Beauchamp, 44, died three days after becoming ill with flu symptoms on Dec. 26, the Tri-County Times reported.

Wright said there is no known connection between the two deaths.


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