NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion N Palm Beach CountyPalm Beach Gardens


UPDATE: Benjamin School students will be allowed to returned to school

Posted at 4:25 AM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 08:39:59-05


The Benjamin School said Thursday that all of their students will be back on campus at their upper school in Palm Beach Gardens.

Thirty students and three teachers have been staying home as a precaution after attending a Model United Nations conference at Yale University. A student from China, who attended the conference, was being tested for the coronavirus.


Sitting and waiting at home until they get the all clear, a group of high school students from The Benjamin School are told to stay home from school.

It’s a precaution after they may have been in close quarters with a student from China who is being tested for the coronavirus.

Catherine Civitella, a sophomore at The Benjamin School, says she really enjoyed the Yale Model United Nations conference and had no idea anyone was sick until the last day.

“Multiple kids in my committee were from China, but everybody in my committee was there all four days, so I’m sure it probably wasn’t anybody in my committee,” said Catherine.

Catherine Civitella
Catherine Civitella

Now, she’s stuck in her bedroom until her school tells her she can come back.

The Benjamin School says Yale alerted them that a student who traveled from China and was at the conference had tested positive for the flu. The student is also being tested for the coronavirus.

“Coming from China, I’m not sure how close they were to the quarantined city, but it was enough for everybody to say, 'Look, this is not worth it,'” said Bill Civitella, Catherine’s father.

Bill Civitella said thanks to technology his daughter is able to keep up with her school work.

“I’m actually FaceTiming my teachers and keeping up with classes that way,” said Catherine.

Bill Civitella says it’s likely there won’t be anything to worry about about. So far they’re monitoring her and hoping test results for the ill student come back soon.

“Thank God she doesn’t even have as much as a runny nose cause, if she did, we’d be like, 'OK, now what?'” said Civitella.

WPTV checked with other school districts on whether other schools sent students to the same conference, so far the Palm Beach County and Martin County School districts said they did not have any students who attended the Yale event.