Newton North Students, Staff Who Recently Returned From Italy Required to Stay Home

Students and staff members from Newton North High School who returned from Italy on Feb. 29 are required to stay home until further notice

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School officials in Newton, Massachusetts, say students and staff who just returned from a trip to Italy are being required to stay home until further notice.

Nineteen students, two staff members and a retired teacher spent time in Italy over the past month as part of a school-sponsored exchange program. They spent three weeks living with host families in Florence and spent the last week in Rome.

Superintendent David Fleishman said in an email to Newton families that those who went on the trip won't be allowed to return to school until officials "have been advised that it is appropriate."

It wasn't immediately clear if anyone who went on the trip is currently showing any symptoms.

Fears of catching the coronavirus has halted global supply chains, from automobiles to wedding dresses to everyday items, as markets and manufacturing companies in China and other affected countries grapple with increasing caseloads of COVID-19. Although the CDC says the risk of contracting the coronavirus for the general public remains low, it also warns that this is an evolving situation.

Those students and staff members have been asked to self-quarantine and do self-monitoring by taking their temperature twice a day, look for fever, shortness of breath and cough.

"To prevent any potential exposure to our staff and students, we are implementing federal guidance around returning travelers, which is evolving daily. To that end, today we made a decision to require students and staff from Newton North who returned from Italy on Saturday, Feb. 29th, to stay home from school beginning tomorrow, March 2nd, until further notice. These students and staff will return to school once we have been advised that it is appropriate," Superintendent Fleishman said in his email.

Fleishman added that this decision "was made out of an abundance of caution" and in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The school district is working closely with the Newton Department of Health and Human Services to monitor the situation and stay up-to-date with recommendations, Fleishman said.

There is no set timetable as to when the students and staff will be allowed back on campus, but town officials are in constant contact with state health officials to get the most up to date guidance.

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