The Waterbury community mourned the loss of a third grader after she died unexpectedly in front of other children on Thursday.
Students and staff are coping with the loss of Sharmaya Ogman, who attended the Duggan Elementary School. She died after suffering an asthma attack.
"This tragedy occurred at an off-site after school program involving students from multiple schools," said Waterbury Public Schools' Chief Academic Officer Darren Schwartz.
The district employed a crisis management team and has put behavioral health management procedures in place to help students and staff properly grieve.
"We are encouraging parents from that program to talk and listen carefully to their children as they will undoubtedly experience a range of emotions over the next few days and weeks," Schwartz said.
"She died yesterday and she was my friend," Duggan Elementary School student Dereon Smith said.
Many told Eyewitness News they were distraught after learning of the young child's death and sent prayers to her family.
"It's just sad for the family to lose somebody that young," Liz Guisto, who is a Duggan Elementary School lunch lady, said. "It's terrible."
Schwartz said that if concerns arise, the district was asking parents to reach out to school administration for additional support.
"It's sad. Just really sad because I got asthma too and that's a hard way to go," Jerry Johnson, of Waterbury, said. "I feel bad for the family."
To help cope with the loss of Sharmaya, students said they wrote her a note. Many said they were crying while writing.
"I hope she feels better and I said 'I'm going to pray for her,'" Smith said.
The medicals examiner office said Sharmaya's cause of death is pending further study.
A GoFundme account has been setup to help the family. As of Friday afternoon, there were more than $4,000 in donations. To donate, click here.
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