Virginia school temporarily closes over coronavirus concerns

A private school in Virginia is temporarily closing its doors as students and faculty are being quarantined over concerns of coronavirus. This comes after a recent school-sponsored trip to Northern Italy. 

Students and faculty at Wakefield Country Day School in Rappahannock County were asked to stay home, and self-quarantine as a precaution. School officials say no one is symptomatic, there’s an elevated level of concern. 

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Thursday marked 11 days since the group departed Italy, and school officials say they’re following CDC guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days. One of the parents of the 16 students says while this was a trip of a lifetime for his son, he’s happy the school took action when they did and that it was a smart move. 

“He’s fine, he came back tired. Expectedly, but he’s fine. We’re all keeping an eye on him, going through the precautions with him. We’re all kind of self quarantining, so to speak, just in case,” said Ben Kelsey. 

Wakefield Country Day School in Huntly, Virginia is a private school, with about 130 students. 

School-sponsored trips are highly valued as part of the educational experience. But in this case, Northern Italy is one of the hardest-hit regions impacted by the coronavirus. 
Faculty says none of the students or staff got sick abroad or upon their return. They tell FOX 5 the school is simply following CDC guidelines. 

The travel group has been back for about 10 days, and have self quarantined for two days. Shutting down the entire school until Monday made the most sense to minimize risk. 

“Our school is very small, so if we just had teachers and students who had gone abroad stay home... it would be problematic... cause there are siblings and it would have just cascaded. We felt this would keep our close-knit communities safest,” said teacher and Foreign Program Coordinator Welby Griffin. 

“It’s just a situation where we’re being abundantly cautious. By closing the whole school for the next two days,” said School board chairman Paul Larner. 

The head of school did send out a letter to families advising them of the situation, and that 14 days was the recommended amount of time for self-quarantine from the CDC. 

“Our risk exposure...everyone we’ve consulted has felt it was very low. So I certainly feel we should feel safe. And if anyone tells us we should stay out longer, we’ll do just that, “ said Griffin. 

The school is expected to open Monday. Meanwhile, they will be doing a deep thorough cleaning of the school and teach staff and students about proper hygiene practices.