Troy native leaves Italy and is heading home

Published 2:28 pm Friday, March 13, 2020

Dalton Gross is headed home.

As of Friday afternoon, the 22-year-old Troy resident was “somewhere over the Atlantic,” according to his father, Barry Gross. “We’re just ready for him to get here safely.”

Dalton Gross is a 2016 graduate of Charles Henderson High School and a Bible major at Faulkner University. He had been participating in a study abroad semester in the Tuscany region of Italy when the coronavirus outbreak began. He and some 30 other Faulkner students and teachers were quarantined at their campus and have been trying since March 4 to get back to the United States.

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With the deadline of a midnight Friday travel ban from Europe to the U.S. looming, Dalton’s parents were understandably worried this week.

“It’s been a worry,” Barry said. “But they left their small campus at about 7 a.m. local time this morning and took a charter bus to Florence.

“When they got there, they all had to pass a medical test before they got on the plane. If any one of the 30-plus people would have had a fever or failed the medical test, no one would be able to board.”

Thankfully, he said, all passed and the group flew to Paris before traveling on towards Atlanta.

Barry said the university will bus the group back to Faulkner late Friday night and Dalton will return to Troy, where he’ll undergo a self-imposed 14-day quarantine.

“We’ve already set up his room with a mini fridge and plenty of food,” Barry said.

And, while his parents are happy to have their son safely headed home from Europe, Barry admits his son is disappointed. “He’s a Bible major, and they were supposed to be taking a two-week tour of Isreal as part of this semester abroad,” Barry said. “He’s disappointed, of course.”