Elizabeth Kaiser graphic
Last week, many Platteville students returned home for Thanksgiving and plan to remain there until the spring semester begins. Wilgus Hall on the UW-Platteville campus has only about half, or 175, of its student residents staying through the end of the semester. Those who return to campus are required to be tested twice for COVID-19, but what about those going home?
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is not the only campus to encourage students to be safe and to practice the three W’s: wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance. The University of Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune, has turned to remote learning after Thanksgiving as well. However, unlike UW-Platteville, the University of Chicago is not allowing students who left for Thanksgiving to return to the dorms until January. Rebecca Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told NPR News that “any form of travel involves some amount of risk, … Just relying on testing alone is not enough.”
Dr. John Segreti, an infectious disease specialist at Rush University Medical Center, said in the Chicago Tribune, “students traveling home should check the infection rates for both their current location and their final destination. If they’re traveling from an area with higher transmission, they should quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.” He went on to state, “That’s not very convenient, but I think that makes the most sense, especially if you are living with someone who’s got comorbid conditions or is older who, when they do get COVID-19, they are more likely to get more severally ill or potentially even die. People have to take all of those things into consideration.”
This holiday season is going to be very different from any other. College students may be apart from their families longer than they planned due to the pandemic. However, if they follow the health guidelines set by their universities and the CDC, perhaps everyone can have a happy holiday.