By Max Bowen
Two North Attleborough High School [NAHS] students have volunteered to be quarantined following a trip overseas, according to a letter sent to parents.
In the letter, signed by Superintendent Scott Holcomb and NAHS Principal Peter Haviland, the students returned to the United States from Italy on Tuesday, March 3, attended school on Wednesday, and then voluntarily self-quarantined on March 5.
The letter stated that at the time of the students’ trip, Italy was considered to be a Level 2 country. Level 2—or Yellow Alert Level 2—encourages travelers to practice enhanced precautions for a particular destination.
“At this point in time there was no concern expressed or communicated by any Italian or United States official to our students as they boarded their plane in Italy or when they landed in the United States,” the letter stated. “They were free to travel to the United States without concern and at no time were they ever approached or asked to be screened for health concerns by any agency during any part of their trip.”
After the students returned home, their families contacted the medical offices of the North Attleborough Public Schools. The district’s lead nurse was spoken to on March 3 about the travel and to discuss what steps needed to be taken. Working with the town’s Board of Health and referencing guidelines from the Mass Department of Public Health [DPH], it was determined that the students were not a potential health concern and could return to school on March 4.
The DPH and Centers for Disease Control web sites were monitored throughout the day and it was learned that Italy’s classification had changed to Level 3, or Red Warning Level 3 which encourages all travelers to avoid all non-essential travel. Even though the two students were cleared to return, and knowing that the families took extra precaution, it was decided by the families that they would self-quarantine.
“Nothing about the health and well-being of those students changed; however, where the guidelines changed so too did the decisions regarding the two families,” the letter stated.
The duration of the self-quarantine extended until the end of the day on Tuesday, March 17. Since they returned from Italy, neither of the students or their family members have reported any symptoms. At no time have either of the students or their family members been diagnosed with COVID-19, nor are they presumed to be infected with COVID-19.