LEESBURG, Va. — The Heritage High School and Leesburg community are grieving after the unexpected death of high school student Katie Giovanniello on Friday morning.

Katie's mom, Colette, told WUSA9 that she passed away after being diagnosed with the flu.

Jeff Adams, principal of Heritage High, notified parents of the sudden passing in a letter sent Friday morning. Adams said that emotional support counselors are on standby at the school.

"As many of you no doubt are, I am deeply saddened by this news," Friday's letter read. "A traumatic event can evoke a wide range of reactions, and I know that the Heritage community shares in the family’s loss and grief."

Out of respect for the family of Katie, Adams said that a planned pep rally and competition at Heritage will be postponed until Feb.14, and that the upcoming "Snowcoming Dance" scheduled for Saturday was canceled. He urged parents to talk to the students at "the degree they feel is needed."

"The safety and well-being of our students is always our main priority, and we are prepared to support our students’ emotional needs as they arise," Adams wrote. "With that being said, we will have additional counselors at school today who will be available to help any students with questions they may have or difficulties they might experience."

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More information regarding memorial services for Katie will be announced once planned. Until then, Adams urged parents that need coping resources or have any questions to contact Heritage High counselors for additional guidance at 571-252-2816.

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