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College student from Huntington returns home from Italy, then self-isolates

Huntington resident Caitlin De Vita said Marist College,

Huntington resident Caitlin De Vita said Marist College, a private school in Poughkeepsie, told her to pack a bag and catch a plane home because of coronavirus. Credit: Shelby Knowles

Amid all the attention surrounding coronavirus, Huntington college student Caitlin De Vita came home from her studies in Italy on Sunday.

De Vita, 20, is a junior at Marist College, a private school in Poughkeepsie that contacted her Saturday and told her to pack a bag and catch a plane. The school canceled classes due to the spread of coronavirus in Italy.

After her return, she said she underwent a medical exam and — because she didn't have any respiratory illness — was declared clear of any virus. She's been self-isolating for 14 days at home, she said.

"I'm OK," she said during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

De Vita is among several Long Island students who were studying abroad in countries that have a high incidence of coronavirus. The abrupt end to her semester in Florence was upsetting, she said, as she had planned excursions to Switzerland, Germany and a last blowout weekend with her housemates on the Italian coast.

Her studies in math education have been thrown into limbo, though she's been told her classes will continue online March 23.

She and her family are dealing with all the money they spent on this dream semester abroad. The school has provided her with a $500 voucher, but that didn't cover the cost of the flight home, she said. She said she's hoping at least for her money back on room and board in Italy.

Her mother, Iris De Vita, said she thinks the school did the right thing bringing the students home. But the family already had booked a trip to Florence, and they were supposed to fly there this past Sunday.

"We lost $900," Iris De Vita said. "My husband was on the phone arguing with the airline."

Spending 14 days inside her house is going to be a drag, Caitlin De Vita said.

"It's going to be tough," she said. "I don't know what I'm going to do."

For now, she's binging on shows such as "You" and "The Bachelor."

She especially regrets having to miss the trip to Germany for the Springfest, which she planned to attend with friends.

"We all ordered German dresses to wear," De Vita said.

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