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COVID-19 Media Releases

Posted on: November 9, 2020

Media Release COVID-19 - November 9, 2020

For Immediate Release

11/09/2020                        

Phone: 980-432-1800
Website: www.rowancountync.gov/covid-19
Email: covid-19@rowancountync.gov

Rowan County Case Information: https://bit.ly/rowan-covid19-hub

Is Your College Student Bringing COVID Home for the Holidays?


As for many of us, this time of year has us patiently waiting for the return of our college students to come home for the holidays. This year; and to no surprise to you, it will be a little bit different. Not only has COVID-19 complicated the past eight months of our lives, it is also complicating the upcoming holidays and how to safely celebrate with our families, not to mention how to safely   “allow” our college kids back into our homes.

For many college students, the Thanksgiving holiday will mean that they will return home for good. As a precaution, many universities and colleges will close their campuses after the Thanksgiving departure as a preventive measure in making sure their students and staff do not bring COVID-19 and/or possibly the flu back to campus. This will mean that many of our local college-age students will be taking their final exams virtually at home and will not be returning to their respective college until the middle of January. With this being the case and with COVID-19 still being so prevalent, how do we welcome our kids back safely and lovingly without allowing COVID-19 and the flu to tag along for the ride?

In an ideal world and knowing what we know about COVID-19 and the spread of this virus, the smartest thing we could suggest to our college-age student is to self-quarantine for at least 14 days before coming home. Realistically, however, this most likely could not happen even with the most disciplined and responsible student. For many students, they will still be having classes on campus for the next two and half weeks; not to mention, many are still relying on the cafeterias for meals, the libraries to study, and possibly using the local public transit system to get from Point A to Point B. We, as parents, can only hope and pray that our young adult children are practicing the 3Ws and avoiding the 3Cs.

So as we prepare for their arrival, what should we suggest our kids do in the next 2½ weeks to stay healthy and safe before venturing home?  First of all, your young adult child must realize that they have to act responsibly, even more so in the next few weeks. As a parent, you NEED to reiterate to your child that his or her actions could possibly play a major role in the health and safety of your home. This is especially important if someone within your home already has a chronic disease, has a weakened immune system, is older, and/or if you are personally responsible in taking care of an older loved one, such as a grandparent. A mask not worn, social distancing not practiced, and/ or one party too many, could mean isolation and/or quarantine for a whole family over the holidays. Even worse, it might mean losing a loved one to COVID-19, the flu, or both if the right precautions aren’t taken.

Below are a few suggestions that the American College Health Association released recently to possibly help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the flu, as your child returns home:

At least two weeks prior to departure, students should be encouraged to:

  • Get a COVID test, as well as a flu shot.
  • Review the regulations governing travel to their destination. Some states require the completion of a travelers’ form prior to arrival, along with specific restrictions and testing requirements after arrival.
  • Remind them that many travelers who are ill, are infected, or have recently been exposed to the virus will not be allowed to board airplanes and trains.
  • Reduce the number of people with whom they have close contact prior to the trip. Any close interaction with persons outside immediate household, an apartment, or residence hall roommates will present an opportunity for infection.

 

Day of Travel Advice for Students:

  •  Reduce the number of stops on the trip. Take a direct flight if possible; and if driving, pack food/snacks for the car trip home.
  • Delay travel if sick or exposed. Anyone feeling ill, recently diagnosed with COVID-19 (within 10 days), or exposed to someone with COVID-19 (within 14 days) should self-isolate and delay travel. Students should follow guidance from their health care provider regarding when recommended isolation/quarantine periods are complete and travel can be resumed.
  • Take safety precautions during travel, especially if using public transportation. Wear a face covering at all times and consider also wearing a face shield. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people; and  if not possible on public transportation, sit as far away from other passengers as possible. Carry and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) frequently.
  • Use a disinfecting/sanitizing wipe to clean any touchable surfaces in the vehicle in which you are traveling. This includes planes, trains, and other forms of transportation.
  • Check beforehand for any requirements or restrictions at your travel destination.
  • The least risky option is driving ones own car. If you find yourself in a car with others outside your college living arrangements, wear a mask and sit in the back seat if someone else is driving. If weather conditions permit, open the windows.

 

Arrival at Home Advice for Students:

  • The most cautious approach upon arriving home is to quarantine for the first 14 days after arrival. This is especially important if there are vulnerable, higher risk individuals living in the home and/or if there is a high prevalence of COVID on the campus or in the local community surrounding the campus prior to leaving for home.
  • Quarantining at home includes eating meals in a private space or outdoors with family at least 6 feet apart.Using separate serving ware, utensils, glasses, and plates.Using a separate bathroom from other family members; and if this is  not possible, disinfecting the bathroom after each use.
  • Avoiding physical contact including hugging, kissing, and shaking hands.
  • Wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of at least 6 ft. when in the presence of others.
  • Restricting movement within and outside the home.
  • If quarantine is not possible, stay physically distant from family household members, wear a face covering, and avoid close contact, including hugging and shaking hands, for the first 14 days home.
  • Consider placing HEPA filter units in the home and opening windows to increase air circulation.

 

One of the scariest things about COVID-19 and this particular age group is that many times they are COVID positive, but have no symptoms. To be on the safe side; and even more importantly if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms of COVID, we highly suggest that they get a COVID test as soon as they arrive home.  Local testing site locations can be found throughout the county and are available throughout the week.  By your child getting tested and following the guidelines above, hopefully your family can stay well, stop any spread of the virus, and enjoy your time together over the upcoming holiday season.

###

Contact:
Amy Smith
704-216-8859
amy.smith@rowancountync.gov

Download Media Release COVID-19 - November 9, 2020 (PDF)

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