MONTREAL -- Howard S. Billings High School in Chateauguay on the South Shore of Montreal announced Wednesday that it has sent home 18 students and two staff members who had recently returned from Italy as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.

The New Frontiers School Board says the students and teachers had been on a three-day trip to Rome and returned home March 6.

While the board said it has not received any specific directives from Quebec's department of health, it said the decision to send the 20 people home was done following recommendations from Quebec Premier Francois Legault on Wednesday morning to stop all school trips to "at risk" countries and send any students who have returned from any such country into 14-day quarantine.

The New Frontiers board also noted that Italy was not on the itinerary for a March Break trip to Europe taken by students at its Chateauguay Valley Regional High School.

"The safety and security of our staff and students is always of our utmost concern and we are vigilantly monitoring this situation," Rob Buttars, director-general of New Frontiers, said in a statement.

This is a developing story that will be updated.