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30 students in Palm Beach County have been told to stay at home because they may have been exposed to coronavirus at a weekend conference.
The group had attended a Model United Nations event at Yale University in Connecticut that was cut short when the university notified participants that a student from China with a cough and fever had been taken to Yale New Haven Hospital.
The Chinese student tested positive for influenza and has been isolated while awaiting test results for coronavirus.
In the meantime, The Benjamin School asked the group of conference participants to stay away from classes on the Palm Beach Gardens campus. At this time, no other students have come forward with symptoms.
“There were hundreds of young men and women at the Yale Model UN, so there is no way to tell if our students had any contact with the student in question or the rest of the group from China,” said Juan Carlos Fanjul, chief development officer for The Benjamin School, which has 400 enrolled in its private upper school. “We have been in close contact with Yale, which reports the test results for the student should come back mid-week.”
Yale said more than 1,500 student delegates from cities around the world attended. “We will share updates when test results come back, but … the one student who exhibited flu symptoms is in good condition,” a spokesperson for Yale said.
Meanwhile, universities across Florida are bringing students back who had been studying in China.
Florida International University in Miami does not have any students in Wuhan, where coronavirus is spreading rapidly, the university has decided to cancel the current study-abroad program.
FIU’s seven students in China are in the process of returning home and will continue their semester in South Florida.
“An FIU team worked overnight to help students secure flights out of China,” said Maydel Santana, assistant vice president of communication for FIU.
“Our students are in Tianjin, which is more than 600 miles from Wuhan and currently not under lock-down. We expect students will start arriving in Miami on Wednesday and most members of the group will be back in the U.S. in the next few days. “
Returning to the U.S. has become difficult for students abroad, particularly those in Wuhan.
Sandra Bell of Boynton Beach said her 21-year-old nephew, Nicolas Schneider, originally from Coral Springs, had been living in Germany and studying abroad at Wuhan University. “
The U.S. Embassy told him he can get on a flight out of Wuhan with other Americans, but did not provide transportation to the airport located 30 miles away,” Bell said. “He tried for 10 hours to find a way to get there in a city that is on lock-down. He will most likely miss this chance to get out of the country.”