Colby College isolated students who show no symptoms of the coronavirus, a spokesperson said Thursday, saying that the college followed health guidelines for people returning from mainland China.
According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the students who were put in alternative housing pose no added risk to public health. The CDC said in a statement that it did not order the college to relocate the students, nor was it consulted about putting students in isolation.
The college is not aware of any confirmed coronavirus cases in its student population of 2,000, Colby College said in an emailed statement.
"None of the individuals in isolation have any symptoms of the virus, and they are being monitored per CDC guidelines," the statement said. "They were isolated based on public health guidance for those returning from mainland China and out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of the Colby and local communities."
News Center Maine reported that the isolated students are staying at a local hotel, from which Colby College has rented rooms. The college is paying for the students meals.
In an email sent to Colby students on Saturday, Dean Karlene A.P. Burrell-McRae wrote, "any member of our community who was in China in January is required to stay in isolation until the 14-day incubation period has concluded. Students will be provided with accommodations, meals, and support," News Center Maine reported.
The Maine CDC said no one in the state meets the definition of a person under investigation.
"Maine CDC did not mandate this decision and was not consulted before the alternative housing was provided," the center said in a statement. "Since then, Maine CDC has been in contact with Colby College officials to answer questions and provide guidance."
It was unclear how many students were located, and when.
The U.S. has quarantined Americans evacuated from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak that has been on lockdown about two weeks. As of Thursday evening, there have been 30,877 cases and 636 deaths due to Coronavirus. All of the deaths have occurred in China, which stretches for 3.7 million square miles.
"We will continue to closely monitor the health of all community members who have traveled to China and follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Colby College said in a statement.
The threat of the coronavirus to Maine remains low, the state CDC said.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY