The Morningside College students who are returning from Italy will not go back to the Sioux City campus, but will be going home to “self-isolate” for 14 days.

State public health officials have called on travelers who’ve been to any country where Covid-19 cases are spreading to stay home from work or school and avoid group activities. Alden Stout, an associate vice president at Morningside in Sioux City, says the college has been communicating with the 12 students and their parents about the two-week, voluntary isolation period.

“We asked them to go home to their home address originally because they didn’t have any on-campus housing this semester because they were supposed to be abroad,” he says.

Stout says none of the students have shown symptoms. One student is already home, as this is a spring break period.

“Some of them had traveled to France. A few of them had been Budapest or other areas,” he says, “so by March 13th all of them will be returning.”

The students will undergo health screenings at least twice before they reach their homes. All passengers at Italian airports are being screened and the students will be screened when they land back in the United States. Officials in Italy have just announced all schools and universities in the country will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) and will not reopen until mid-March — to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.

According to the Morningside College website, the students were staying on an island in Sicily — the region of Italy that’s in the Mediterranean. The Covid-19 outbreak is centered in northern Italy.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)