Healthy Living: What to do if your college student returns for Thanksgiving

Though many families associate Thanksgiving with reunion and the return of their students from college campuses, this year having loved ones return home safely comes with some challenges.

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 9:18 AM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 7:13 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Though many families associate Thanksgiving with reunion and the return of their students from college campuses, this year having loved ones return home safely comes with some challenges.

According to Oregon Medical Group family physician Dr. Gary Brandt, some of the top questions he gets from patients are about how to keep COVID-19 out of the household if their students plan on coming home for the holiday. 

"Folks are canceling their plans. Particularly if the parents have preexisting medical conditions or other things that put them at risk. Bringing a college student home for a short period of time on the holiday does present risk," he said.

With college campuses becoming coronavirus hotspots nationwide, it's a hard decision to make. If students do end up returning, Brandt recommends taking the same actions as if they had been exposed to a known case of COVID-19.

"That means six feet of distance, wearing a mask, using your own bathroom if possible, and having our own bedroom. And limiting contact outside of that context," he said.

According to Brandt, it's advisable to continue your regular household cleaning routine. Extra cleanings may not be necessary, except in bathrooms shared with your student.

Additionally, consider getting your student tested for COVID-19 seven to 10 days after returning from campus.

Though it may be difficult to sit together around the table for Thanksgiving, Brandt said it's important to consider possible consequences.

"We are risking new cases to folks who are not as young and healthy as the college student," he said. 

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