How to stay safe when your college-aged child comes home for the holidays

Connecticut Families

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “I’ve been keeping precautions in mind as I go,” said Aiden Annino, of Meriden, who is adjusting to this unique Freshman year at Johnson & Wales University in Providence. “I’m not one to go into crowds.”

He’s been very careful and is planning to see family for Thanksgiving.

“I’m ready to be home, sleep in my own bed and be somewhere familiar,” he said

But experts are advising college students to take extra precautions if heading home, like getting a COVID-19 test on campus. But, Dr. Faiqa Cheema of Hartford Healthcare said, be aware. It’s not foolproof.

“Even if you may have tested negatively on the campus, it will come to a point where you could be at the highest risk of transmitting the virus when you’re sitting down to have Thanksgiving dinner,” she explained.

Students should prepare by quarantining for two weeks prior to the holidays and still wear a mask around family members. If possible, drive home.

“If you make the decision to fly home for Thanksgiving, it comes with its own set of risks,” said Cheema, noting the traveler must be vigilant. “You’re wearing your mask, you’re not eating on the plane, you’re using your hand sanitizer and avoid sitting in an airport with crowds.”

RELATED: CDC’s pandemic Thanksgiving guidelines include small gatherings, social distance, no loud music

Also, be sure to communicate with family members. Is the risk worth it this year?

“I know college kids want to come home and one of the issues of COVID-19 is the profound sense of isolation and separation we’re all feeling,” said Cheema.

Many colleges are taking precautions on the back end. Annino won’t be returning to Rhode Island until mid-January when he’ll continue to navigate this difficult year.

“Aiden has set a path of responsibility going back to high school so we know he’s taking this very seriously,” said his dad, Mike.

“It’s a lot to get used to,” added the teen.

Dr. Cheema said if a student has family members over 65 or with underlying health issues, it’s probably best not to take any risks and to just look forward to Thanksgiving 2021.

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