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CT colleges conduct COVID-19 ‘exit testing’ before students head home for Thanksgiving break


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — College students are getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving break. Most schools are conducting “exit testing” to make sure students are not bringing COVID-19 home for the holidays.

Sacred Heart University has gotten pretty good at managing the coronavirus on campus, but all the students are about to leave campus and go home for Thanksgiving. That’s why students lined up Wednesday morning. For the students in that line, it has not exactly been the semester they were looking for.

“There were a lot of restrictions, which was kind of frustrating, but I did make the best out of it,” said freshman Cara Grill as she stood in line.

“It was still fun, I made the best out of it. It obviously wasn’t the experience everybody wanted,” said freshman Connor Eaton.

Before they leave for Thanksgiving and finish off the semester at home, there is one more in-person test they are taking: a COVID-19 test.

“Of all the testing we’ve done on campus, this is the most important testing,” said University Safety and Government Relations Director Gary MacNamara. “Making sure that you’re negative before you go home to your families.”

Anyone testing positive will be moved to a special COVID isolation dorm, something that has happened several hundred times so far this semester. The campus is currently in Red Alert COVID status. While testing is not mandatory, students know the possible risks to their families.

“I just don’t want to get them sick because of what’s going on here, so I just want to make sure before I go home that I’m all set,” said Eaton.

“We’ve decided for Thanksgiving it’s just going to be close family, so I’m not going to see my grandparents,” said Junior Chase Jeter. “I don’t want to put them at risk, but I don’t want to put my parents at risk either, so I’m going to get tested today.”

For most of the student body, it’s going to be an extensive holiday break. Most students will not be back on campus until February, when campus testing will resume again.

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