Bishop Seabury students return home from trip to Greece amid COVID-19 pandemic

photo by: Associated Press

A few pedestrians walk in Monastiraki square, usually the most crowded area in central Athens, Monday, March 16, 2020. Greek health authorities have warned people to stay home, and have shut down everything from restaurants, bars and cafes to public organized beaches, ski resorts, hair salons and movie theaters, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

A group of about 30 Bishop Seabury Academy students on an international trip returned to Lawrence on Sunday amid travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group traveled to Greece last week for an educational spring break trip and had originally intended to head back to the United States on Tuesday. But the trip was cut short after President Donald Trump last week announced travel bans to most European countries to help stop the spread of the disease.


• March 12, 2020 — Group of Bishop Seabury students cutting trip to Greece short amid COVID-19 developments

Don Schawang, Bishop Seabury’s head of school, told the Journal-World Monday that the group had returned Sunday night and did not face much difficulty getting back into the country.

“Customs and screening were surprisingly easier than we were led to believe by reports,” he said via text message.

Schawang, who traveled with the students, said the group is following recommendations to self-quarantine after international travel. On Sunday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued new guidelines for residents to follow to help stop the spread of the virus. Part of the guidelines recommend a two-week self-quarantine for residents who have traveled internationally, on a cruise or from certain U.S. states.

Along with other public and private schools in Douglas County, Bishop Seabury is currently closed until March 30 by order of the Lawrence-Douglas County health department to help stop the spread of the virus. The state has confirmed nine coronavirus cases, six of them in Johnson County, according to the latest tally by the Associated Press.

While the Bishop Seabury students were in Greece, the country shut down its own education system, according to a Reuters report. Starting Wednesday, March 11, the country closed schools, universities, day care centers and other educational establishments for two weeks.

According to a World Health Organization report released Sunday, Greece has 228 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with two resulting in death. Other European countries are in much more dire situations, such as Italy, which has reported more than 21,000 cases and more than 1,400 deaths, according to the report.

Outside of the travel issues, Schawang said last week that the Bishop Seabury trip had been enjoyable for the students.

“It has been a very good trip,” he said at the time.

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