Del Rio High School students’ return from foreign travel went off the script, after new travel restrictions for people coming into the United States from certain parts of Europe will be going into effect today.
Wednesday night President Donald Trump announced the United States will begin restricting travel from the European Union and other countries into the United States beginning today.
San Felipe Del Rio CISD confirmed there are two groups of students out of the country for Spring Break; the groups travelled to Spain, Portugal and France.
Prior to the students’ departure, the school district sent home a letter containing warnings regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 and possible scenarios.
According to the White House, travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area in the last 14 days.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 European countries with open border agreements; the countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
“Those who are exempt from these restrictions, such as American citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place,” the White House said.
Renee Mireles, a Del Rio parent who sent her son Sergio Mireles in a trip to Portugal, said the family is going through difficult times trying to bring him back right away.
“Initially I wasn’t at home, so I didn’t hear of the news; I didn’t see it personally, but my phone started going off like crazy,” Mireles said.
It wasn’t until after Mireles called her husband that she broke down. “Of course you think of the worst case scenario … My mind was going everywhere, I freaked out,” she said.
Mireles and her husband, Sammy Mireles, contacted Sergio and searched for an immediate flight home.
“I pray none of them have anything … I get other parents’s concerns … We’re just worried about their safety,” Mireles said.
Mireles tried to contact Sergio after the president’s announcement but could not get a hold of him.
“He had no idea what was going on and just reassured me to ‘Just stay calm, Mom’ … About an hour later it was a different (story),” Mireles said.
“You could just hear he was trying to remain calm, but you could sense that urgency,” Mireles said.
Sergio asked Mireles to get him whatever flight would take him out of Portugal. The first route Mireles and her husband looked at cost approximately $2,800, but it flew out from a different airport in Portugal.
The second route flew Sergio, from Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon, from Portugal to Madrid, Spain and finished at Mexico City, Mexico. Mireles last heard from Sergio when he was dropped off at the airport.
“I pray he’s on the flight,” Mireles said.
The only flights available for Sergio to return to the U.S. began today, Mireles said.
Another parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said the group of students are safe and closely monitored. “Of course we want our kids to come home safe,” the parent said.
All the kids will land at the San Antonio International Airport on Saturday.
The chaperones were doing a good job keeping the parents informed, according to Mireles and the other parent.
Mireles said if the students are quarantined, it would be best to have them in an isolated building away from the high school. Mireles is okay with her son being quarantined upon return, she just wants him home safe.