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Some students at schools on Aviano Air Base in Italy, including Aviano Middle High School, might have to switch from in-person to online learning and to go into quarantine after a member of the base's Defense Department school community tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Oct. 28, 2020.
Some students at schools on Aviano Air Base in Italy, including Aviano Middle High School, might have to switch from in-person to online learning and to go into quarantine after a member of the base's Defense Department school community tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Oct. 28, 2020. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)

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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Some students at Aviano Air Base might have to switch from in-person to online learning and to go into quarantine after a member of the Defense Department school community tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.

“Anyone who may have come into contact with the DODEA COVID-19 individual has been contacted by Public Health and provided guidance on quarantine and testing procedures,” Maj. Sarah Babcock, spokeswoman for the 31st Fighter Wing, told Stars and Stripes after a contact tracing effort had been completed Wednesday.

The families of students who were in contact with the infected person also might have to quarantine, school officials said in a letter sent to parents on Tuesday.

But because the person contracted the virus off school grounds, the schools remained open and students reported for class Wednesday, the letter said.

It was unclear whether the person who contracted the virus was a student or a member of the faculty or the administration. The letter also did not specify whether they were associated with the elementary, middle or high school at Aviano nor when they tested positive for the virus.

Italy, like the rest of Europe, is grappling with a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases. The Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where Aviano is located, reported 241 new cases and one death Tuesday.

Protesters have gathered in cities around the country this week after the government imposed the most severe restrictions against the virus since months of a nationwide lockdown were lifted in June.

Under the latest rules, bars and restaurants must close by 6 p.m.,and cinemas, theaters, gyms, pools and concert halls have to shut. Aviano complied with the rules by closing on-base gyms and ordering dining facilities to shut by 6 p.m.

llamas.norman@stripes.com Twitter: @normanllamas

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Norman covers the U.S. military in Northern Italy and sometimes elsewhere for Stars and Stripes. He was born in Guatemala and raised in Rhode Island. He has more than 10 years of experience as an Army photojournalist and has served as a photojournalism instructor at the Defense Information School.
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