Health Department advises Lee County teacher to self-quarantine after Italy trip

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
River Hall Elementary School in Olga. Credit: WINK News.

School District of Lee County says, “out of an abundance of caution,” it advised a River Hall Elementary School teacher in Olga to self-quarantine Tuesday after she returned from a trip to Italy.

Italy is currently the worst hit country after China in deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19). While more than 700 patients have recovered there, over 600 died.

“I wouldn’t panic, but I would be concerned,” said Mike Oloier in Fort Myers.

Parents we spoke to are wondering why the Lee County teacher showed up at school after traveling to Italy.

“I would probably keep my kids home for a while, keep them home and self-quarantine themselves,” said Lynn Mickelsen in Fort Myers. “That’s what I would do.”

The District says the teacher does not have any symptoms related to COVID-19. But, after contacting her medical provider, she was advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“I think people should self-quarantine if they’ve been exposed just because we have to think about the health of everyone around us,” said Patricia Berry in Fort Myers.

A Self-quarantine is exactly what the District says the teacher is now doing “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Sooner, very much sooner and not impact any of the kids,” Mickelsen said.

Parents say it’s important to be alert to any vulnerabilities in public currently during concerns for outbreak exposure.

“It’s just like we’re doing our best,” Berry said. “But, as a parent, I just have to be conscious of the fact that every place we go there’s a potential exposure it sounds like the school did a good job of minimizing that.”

And the CDC currently considers Italy at a Level-3 risk. The District said, in accordance with CDC guidelines, anyone returning from a trip to a country of that status should self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.

MORE: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The District also says River Hall Elementary did a deep clean on top of regular cleaning.

“You just never know right now,” Mickelsen said.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

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