BUFFALO, N.Y. — Some Western New York students are being asked to stay home as part of a voluntary quarantine if they've traveled to affected areas recently, even if they're feeling perfectly fine and show no signs or coronavirus symptoms.
School officials say they are working with the Erie County Department of Health on how to handle students and their families who have recently returned home from a number of global hot spots for coronavirus: China, Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Western New York, but some school districts are now listing guidelines.
The Amherst Central Schools sent a letter to parents regarding 12 students and a chaperone who recently returned from a trip to Italy. When the students left February 5 and the returned at the end of the February break, there was no travel warning issued for Italy at that time. The superintendent of the district, Anthony Panella, said once the travel warning was issued on March 3 and they received guidelines from the CDC, he contacted the Erie County Department of Health. Even though none of the students or chaperone showed any symptoms or illness, they were asked to voluntarily quarantine at home for 14-days. Once the quarantine is over, they will be evaluated by health officials. If there are no symptoms, they will be cleared to return to school.
In the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda schools district, the district has listed the number of students: one. That student has been cleared by the health department.
"The district is aware of one student who recently traveled to Italy, one of the countries impacted by COVID-19, before returning to school," the school district said in a statement. "This student, along with anyone who has traveled to countries impacted by COVID-19, were recently asked to undertake a voluntary quarantine as a precautionary measure only.
"The Erie County Department of Health has reviewed this case and advised that there is no cause for concern, and it is important to note that these steps are being taken for any individuals who have traveled to countries impacted by COVID-19."
The Clarence Central School District said it's working with the Department of Health on how to handle cases of "students or staff who have returned from traveling to one of the countries that have experienced confirmed cases of coronavirus."
In a statement posted on Wednesday to the district's website, Superintendent Geoffrey Hicks said, "If no symptoms arise, the student or staff member is cleared to return to school at the end of the (14-day home) quarantine period. Siblings or family members who did not travel but share a living space are clear to attend school unless they or the quarantined individual exhibit any symptoms."