For many folks, it wouldn’t be the holidays without college students coming home for winter break.
Given the ongoing risk of spreading COVID-19, as well as the new Omicron variant, here are several ways college students can keep their hometown households safe during the academic break:
Before going home:
- Limit your exposure to people outside of your household/cohort as much as you can for at least two weeks prior to travel.
- Avoid crowds, especially indoors.
- Wash your hands often, and wear a well-fitting mask.
- Travel only after you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
- Get your flu shot at least two weeks prior to travel.
- If you are unvaccinated, get tested 1-3 days before your trip. Testing options have expanded to include highly accurate rapid, at-home tests.
- If your test result is negative, go on the trip.
- If your test result is positive, report it to your health care provider, isolate, and talk over your test result with your family.
- Traveling by car and only with people you live with will minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. But if you travel by air, train or bus, here’s how to protect yourself and others: Wear a mask on public transportation and while in airports and bus/train stations.
- Wash your hands often and stay six feet from others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more travel tips on their web page.
Once you get home:
If you are staying with family members who are unvaccinated or at a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, consider taking additional precautions such as wearing a mask indoors, visiting in well-ventilated spaces and staying six feet apart.
Returning to college:
Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
If you are not fully vaccinated:
- Quarantine for seven days and get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after returning from travel.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and quarantine for 10 days after travel.
If you’re staying with family members who are unvaccinated or at higher risk of illness due to COVID-19, consider taking further precautions such as wearing a mask indoors, being in well-ventilated spaces, and staying six feet apart.