Concerns About Students Bringing Coronavirus Home for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving approaching, there are concerns that college students around the country could unknowingly bring the coronavirus home to their families and communities.

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 2:30 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 2:50 PM

With Thanksgiving approaching, there are concerns that college students around the country could unknowingly bring the coronavirus home to their families and communities.

Research shows more than half of transmissions in the U.S. are from young, asymptomatic people. Dr. David Paltiel is with the Yale School of Public Health. "What we don't want to have happen is for Thanksgiving to be an event where a whole bunch of silent spreaders, ticking time bombs, get unleashed on the nation's airports and train stations and Thanksgiving dining tables," says Dr. Paltiel.

Preventing that from happening varies from college to college. Some require tests, offer voluntary tests, or just rely on quick symptom checks. Schools like Temple University are offering free testing this week. "If I am positive, I won't be going home, so I wanted to get tested as soon as possible," says senior Maria Buxton.

Some colleges will have students finish the semester remotely. Others will bring students back after the holiday, which could be risky.

Stella Piasecki is making the best of her sophomore year at Skidmore College and says she and her friends are trying to stay safe during the pandemic. Students are also tested regularly for COVID. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable knowing that everyone is getting tested once a week," Stella says.

Stella was just notified she had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. She says, "They told me that I need to be in quarantine, starting today." Stella will be tested later this week and hopes she can get home soon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not issued any specific recommendations for the holidays for college students.

Doctors also don't want kids to go home without a flu shot.

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