Student, chaperone hope extra precautions calm community coronavirus concerns
BATON ROUGE - A mother-daughter duo from the St. Joseph's Academy Italy trip said they are willing to take an abundance of caution to give other people peace of mind.
For now, the 15 students and four chaperones who were on the trip are waiting out their days in self-isolation over concerns of the coronavirus in Italy.
More than a dozen students had to make it to class a different way as students at SJA returned to their normal school schedule Tuesday.
"It is a weird situation," SJA student Lauren Harmon said.
"My daughter was Skyping with her classes, and she has homework. So this isn't a vacation for them,” trip chaperone Crystal Harmon said.
That's because their actual vacation in Italy was cut short.
"But they wanted to make sure that we could get out of Italy. So that was the main reason we shortened our trip by two days,” Crystal Harmon said.
The school made that call as the coronavirus outbreak began in Northern Italy.
Crystal said the group avoided those high-risk areas at the time and stayed in Southern Italy as they skipped major tourist areas and took extra precautions.
"We did everything that we could. Washing our hands, Purell, masks, I even put antibiotic cream in our nostrils to make sure, just an extra barrier on a flight,” Crystal Harmon said.
The school is taking those precautions a step further by not allowing those students and staff back until 14 days of self-isolation are complete.
"Honestly, nobody made any inkling that we were going to be quarantined until Monday afternoon when they decided to make the decision,” Crystal Harmon said.
Until their self-isolation is over, Lauren said that she and her mother are doing great and they want others in the community to know.
"Everyone doesn't need to freak out about it. If you're doing the best to keep yourself safe then that's as much as you can do. No one really needs to go into a full panic unless something immediately affects us. For right now we're all good."
As long as they remain symptom-free, students, including Lauren, and staff at SJA will be able to return to school by next Friday. Crystal, who works at a local Baton Rouge school, will also return to work then.
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