ORR High School recommends coronavirus quarantine for Italy travelers

Mar 5, 2020

MARION — Old Rochester Regional Superintendent Douglas White and ORR High School Principal Michael Devoll asked a group of 18 students and staff to stay home for the remainder of this week after recently traveling to Italy because of March 4 changes in coronavirus quarantine recommendations.

The group of 15 students and three staff members have been asked to retroactively quarantine themselves on March 5 and 6 in light of a recent update to travel guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The medical institution also recommends that the travelers remain in quarantine for an additional two days.

The school said on Monday that all individuals remain asymptomatic and have returned to school as of Monday.

The CDC is now advising travelers returning to the United States from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, to stay home for 14 days and avoid contact with others.

Dr. Steve Mendes of Wareham Pediatrics, the district physician who worked with the district on the initial quarantine recommendations, explained that because the group has already been back in the community for 10 days, the travelers only need to complete the remaining four days of the quarantine.

At the time that the group traveled to southern Italy, it was not part of the travel restrictions.

Mendes said “I don’t think the schools did anything wrong,” in not immediately imposing a restriction, since “the CDC felt at that time the quarantine wasn’t necessary.”

He added that rapid change, though difficult to handle with regulations, is part of the nature of some infections.

The district said in a statement that it “does not believe there is any cause for concern for students or staff. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the risk to residents of contracting the virus remains low.”

The school recommended basic health and safety precautions for all its members. Mendes said he would recommend the 18 travelers, stay home, not go to group activities or stores during the quarantine.