Out of caution, RA travel group stays home after overseas trip

Published 2:11 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

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Six students, two teachers and one parent from Riverside Academy in Reserve have been instructed to stay away from school and other activities as a precautionary measure after traveling to Italy over the Mardi Gras break.

Riverside Academy Principal Mike Coburn said none of the individuals are showing symptoms of coronavirus.

They are expected to return to school March 16.

Coburn has been in contact with an epidemiologist and infectious disease control specialist from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to develop the best plan of action and ensure the wellbeing of the school and community.

“Everybody is healthy. There is no flu or sickness going on with any of the students as well as the teachers,” Coburn said. “It’s just better safe than sorry.”

The students, teachers and parent returned from an educational trip the night of Feb. 29.

“When they left for Italy, there were no restrictions whatsoever on that country,” Coburn said. “They made it through five days of touring around Rome, and then the level of threat (for coronavirus) rose very quickly.”

Several other schools attended the educational trip, according to Coburn. On Friday, Feb. 28, representatives from each school were given the option to be relocated to another country or return home from the trip two days early. The Riverside Academy group returned home on Saturday and was advised by the Department of Health and Hospitals to stay home for at least one week while keeping an eye out for symptoms.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued guidance to keep individuals that may have been exposed to coronavirus out of school or work for 14 days.

“That’s what we are doing,” Coburn said. “They can report back to school on March 16.”

The state department and Coburn did not use the word “quarantine,” and the individuals are not being held in a hospital or any other medical facility.


The following are some reminders to help stop the spread of germ based illnesses.

·         Keep your hands clean. Wash hands often with soap and water. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Always wash your hands before handling food and after blowing your nose or using the bathroom.

·         Do not cough or sneeze into your bare hands. Use a tissue, and if a tissue isn’t available, use the elbow of your shirt or jacket sleeve.

·         Disinfect common areas. These include countertops, desks and other surfaces that many people touch.

·         Avoid eating and drinking after others. Keep cups, plates and utensils separate, and don’t eat or drink from the same portion as others. Use servingware; don’t pick up food with your bare hands. Make sure all food is cooked thoroughly and kept at the proper temperature.

·         If you are sick, STAY HOME. This includes keeping your children home if they are sick. Do not go to school, work or public places until you’re not contagious. And, do not go around other people if they are sick.