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Four Newport News students self-monitoring at home for coronavirus

A spokeswoman for the Newport News Public Schools stressed it did not believe the students were exposed. They were following health officials' mandatory guidelines.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Newport News Public Schools alerted parents that four students who traveled to China were "self-monitoring" as a precaution, a school official confirmed.

The four students visited extended family on a trip to China and came back last week. They did not travel to Wuhan where the coronavirus was first detected, said Michelle Price, a spokeswoman for Newport News Public Schools. 

They were cleared in a screening in China to return to the United States.

The four students went to school for one day last week; however, health officials said they had to self-monitor at home for 14 days, Price said.

Virginia Department of Health spokesman Larry Hill said health officials would continue monitoring the family with daily check-ins.

“It’s a self-monitoring process, which means they’re at home for 14 days monitoring for any symptoms, and that's if they feel like they have any of the symptoms, symptoms like sore throat, coughing, high-fever," said Hill. 

Hill said the 14-day monitoring schedule is mandatory under the CDC's new rules.

“There is no coronavirus, and there’s very low risk with it happening to this family, but we’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing under CDC protocols," said Hill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a set of guidelines health officials must follow when assessing coronavirus.

Health officials said the students pose "little to no risk."

The Newport News schools alerted were: Denbigh, Woodside, and Warwick high schools.

This is the full message that was sent to families at those schools on Friday evening:

The Virginia Department of Health has informed school officials that four high school students, who recently returned from a family trip to China, have been placed on self-monitoring at home with public health supervision for 14 days in accordance with coronavirus protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The students attended school for one day during the week of February 3 before the self-monitoring at home was enforced. According to the Virginia of Department of Health, the students' attendance at school posed "little to no risk to the school population."

The students and their families were screened before leaving China and upon entering the United States at one of the CDC quarantine stations, and they were cmleared to travel home.

The Virginia Department of Health is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and will continue to monitor the students and their families.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (the coronavirus associated with the current outbreak) causes a respiratory illness that has flu-like symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Persons experiencing these symptoms should see their healthcare professional. Any student experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home from school if they are sick with a fever of 100 degrees or higher.

This information is being provided as a precaution only as there is little to no risk to students and staff.

For more information about coronavirus, visit
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ or contact the Virginia state-wide call center at: 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343).

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