Concern about further COVID-19 spread comes with end of college semesters

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 4:42 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Friday (Nov. 20) is the last day of the Fall semester at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University, joining colleges across the country in stepping into a prolonged winter break. From Kansas colleges, thousands of students will be traveling across the country to get home, potentially carrying COVID-19 with them and spreading it in those communities.

Students who spoke with Eyewitness News Thursday said they’re worried about bringing COVID-19 home. With Thanksgiving one week away, that could put family members, especially older relatives like grandparents, at risk. That’s why some students are getting tested for COVID-19 before they hit the road.

“We just decided before we go home to our family, it’d be best to get tested, just to make sure,” KU senior Sydney Hoover said.

Hoover said she especially wants to be cautious because some family members, including her grandparents, have underlying health issues.

“I would hate to drag something home to my parents or grandparents,” she said. “I’d hate to give something to my brother to then take back to his school.”

Some students still have in-person classes or have to go to work, making it difficult to quarantine for two weeks before traveling. KU said it’s offering free saliva testing for students who need a negative test result to travel or have high-risk family members.

Starting last week, K-State is also encouraging students to get tested for COVID-19 before heading home for the holidays.

At Wichita State, testing is available for students who don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. With this comes an important reminder that even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms and even if you test negative for COVID-19, you could still be carrying the virus.

Universities also encourage students to keep their distance and to wear a mask around family members, at least for the first few days that they’re home.

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