Student Thanksgiving
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Students urged not to travel for Thanksgiving amid Covid-19

Health experts in America have urged students in higher education to either remain on campus or follow specific protocols to minimise the spread of Covid-19 during the Thanksgiving holidays.

   According to a recent New York Times survey of more than 1,700 US colleges and universities, there have been more than 321,000 cases of Covid-19 on campus and at least 80 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

   More than 38,000 cases have been reported at colleges since October, and health experts are concerned that the holiday student migration could be a major inflection point in spreading the virus.

   Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, which falls on Thursday 26 November in 2020, and many institutions offer a break around this time.

   Dr Anita Barkin, co-chair of the American College Health Association Covid-19 Task Force, said: “We would encourage students not to go home and the reason is that we know with travel comes risk of exposure.

   “We would prefer students to stay on campus and do a virtual Thanksgiving with their family.”

   Many institutions are now putting plans in place to minimise the spread of the virus if students travel home.

   Boston University have urged students who travel home to remain there until term ends on 10 December.

   Kenneth Elmore, the university’s dean of students, said: “Returning to campus after the break is not a good idea. Public health officials throughout this country are urging us all to stay put and not travel during this year’s holiday season.”

  

 

 

“We would prefer students to stay on campus and do a virtual Thanksgiving with their family.”

 

– Co-chair of the American College Health Association Covid-19 Task Force, Dr Anita Barkin

The State University of New York (SUNY) has told students that they will have to take a Covid-19 test, and be negative for the virus, if they want to go home.

   SUNY chancellor Jim Malatras said: “The health experts said you need to wind down your semester after Thanksgiving break and then go all remote because you don’t want people travelling back and forth in the cold months. We don’t want to send our students home, possibly infected.”

   A similar policy has been enacted by the University of Notre Dame and Colby College. The former university has told students that if they leave without a test, the school will hold onto their transcripts and they will be unable to enrol for the spring semester.

   As of 24 November, the USA has reported 12.5 million cases of Covid-19 and 258,000 deaths.

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