coronavirus concerns

Students in 2 Mass. Towns Asked to Stay Home After Recent Europe Trips

Students in Tewksbury and Plymouth recently went on separate trips

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Students in two Massachusetts communities were asked to stay home Thursday as a precautionary measure after returning from separate trips to Europe.

Students and staff members from a Tewksbury school were in self-quarantine after sharing a flight with a passenger who was diagnosed with a presumptive positive test for the coronavirus, school board officials said. That group was not expected to return to school until Monday.

In Plymouth, students and chaperones who attended a school trip to Milan, Italy, in February were being asked to stay home Thursday and Friday after one was taken to the hospital Wednesday night after feeling ill.

"We were answering a 911 call for a patient that had flu-like symptoms," Plymouth Fire Chief Ed Bradley said.

Plymouth Public Schools will be closed on Friday after a 17-year-old student who recently traveled to Europe on a class trip become ill.

The student, a 17-year-old boy, was released from the hospital Thursday morning and does not have the flu, Bradley said.

The fire chief says the hospital couldn't rule out the coronavirus and doctors told him to self-isolate as a precaution.

"If they got a test kit from the state, and the testing was done, it would take 48 hours to get the results back. That particular test isn't done at this particular hospital," Bradley said.

None of the other students or the chaperones were sick, he said.

The incident marked the fire department's fire test which authorities say involved special suits and other equipment.

As a precaution, a group of students and staff members from Tewksbury, Massachusetts who went on a school trip to Italy will not be returning to school until Monday.

"It also includes eye protection, nose protection, mouth protection with masks and also gowns and gloves," said Chris DiBona, Brewster Ambulance Service Chief Clinical Officer.

Plymouth Superintendent of Schools issued a statement Thursday saying all public schools in the district would be closed in order to disinfect them.

"In order to disinfect all potential surfaces that occupants would come into contact with, we have contracted with a professional commercial cleaning service that specializes in this type of work. This closure will be for the purpose of thoroughly disinfecting all 12 schools and school buses," read the statement.

In Massachusetts, more than 250 people were self-monitoring their symptoms at home as of Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker said.

In all, nearly 720 people in Massachusetts have entered self-quarantine, with more than half completing the 14-day isolation, according to Baker.

In a news conference Wednesday, Baker urged high schools and universities to cancel upcoming study abroad trips as a precaution against spreading coronavirus.

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