Governors strongly encourage colleges, universities to test students departing for Thanksgiving

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Delaware Govs. John Carney; Andrew M. Cuomo, New York; Phil Murphy, New Jersey; Ned Lamont, Connecticut; Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island; and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced they would encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break.

Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements for their safe travel home with the local department of health.

These efforts aim to ease the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing Covid-19 into their communities. Also, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home states.

“There’s no sugarcoating it: this will be a difficult winter,” saidCarney. “We are seeing rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from Covid-19 in our region and across the country as we enter the colder months. The holidays present a significant challenge. I’m thankful for the cooperation in our region and will continue to urge Delawareans to do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with anyone outside your household. Stay vigilant.”

The combination of rising cases across the country – including in the northeast – due to increased transmission of Covid-19 in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread, a release stated.

The governors also emphasized the importance of in-person education and the need to get the virus under control so classes can continue. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn.

The governors are strongly recommending that colleges and universities finish their fall semesters by expanding remote instruction, enabling more students to learn from home for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break rather than require students to travel back to campus and then back home again in December.

The University of Delaware announced a Thanksgiving holiday end for in-person classes earlier in the fall.

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