SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Students who recently traveled to Italy on a non-school sponsored trip are being self-quarantined after the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday raised the threat level for people who had traveled to Italy.
MSAD 35 superintendent John Caverly sent a letter to Marshwood High School parents on Wednesday explaining the new guidelines which recommends self-isolating for 14 days from the date of return to the U.S. Caverly told NEWS CENTER Maine the trip took place over February break and returned to the U.S. Feb. 23.
The CDC currently lists Italy as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, and recommends avoiding nonessential travel. The CDC says if you have spent time in Italy during the last 14 days, you should:
- Stay home for 14 days from the time you left Italy and practice social distancing.
- If you get sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing seek medical care and call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
Prior to the new CDC guideline announcement Wednesday, the students who recently traveled to Italy had not been asked to self-quarantine, Caverly said. The 14-day period ends on Sunday, March 8.
In the letter, Caverly says in light of the new guidelines the school district asks any students who have traveled to Italy in the past 14 days not attend school until the isolation period has passed. “Our nursing staff and administration are continuing to monitor the situation carefully,” the letter says. “We have and will continue to follow the [CDC] recommendations as this situation evolves.”
Caverly told NEWS CENTER Maine that the Marshwood High School administration and guidance department are coordinating with each of the students being quarantined's teachers to help students access their curriculum. Students are able to receive assignments virtually, and when out of the quarantine Caverly says the staff is available after school for additional support.
Italy has almost 4,00 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with close to 150 deaths as of Friday morning, making it one of the largest outbreaks in the world.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine. On Thursday, Maine CDC said about one dozen samples were being sent to the U.S. CDC for testing after the CDC raised the testing requirements. Maine is expected to be able to perform official testing at the state lab soon.
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