Dante Hamilton, Health Science Major, studying outside by himself while wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Cassandra Renger / Staff Photographer

By: Amelia Bodge, News Editor

With the holidays fast approaching and the country still very much amid the third wave of a global pandemic it is important for students to try and stay safe when traveling home for the holidays.

Both the President of USM, Glenn Cummings, and the CDC have released sets of guidelines for staying safe during the holidays. In a Healthy Huskies update by Glenn Cummings, he outlined what students need to do to stay healthy when planning on leaving campus for Thanksgiving.

First off students should begin by working to minimize their exposure risk as this could disrupt their plans on returning home for Thanksgiving. As well as putting family and other community members at risk. 

“If you become infected or are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine before traveling. For students, this could mean quarantining or isolating on campus during Thanksgiving break” stated Cummings.

In the coming weeks, there will also be rounds of Covid-19 testing. All residential students will be testing along with randomly selected faculty, staff, and commuter students. If you have been randomly selected you will receive an email indication from [email protected] along with information about when and where your test will be conducted.

For more information on USM Covid-19 testing dates, testing times, or locations visit the Asymptomatic Testing FAQ page. USM is also making daily announcements about positive cases and case counts on the Together for Maine website.

Students must leave residence halls by Wednesday, Nov. 25th but many leave early as long as they coordinate this with their RA. If students wish to stay on campus after Nov. 25th then they must fill out the application on their MyCampus portal page.

After leaving campus many will be traveling home to family gatherings and family parties. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), they recommend staying safe by continuing to wear a mask in public, maintaining social distancing guidelines by staying six feet apart, and trying not to gather in poorly ventilated rooms with people that aren’t in your household. Along with social distancing appropriate cleaning practices should be adhered to, with disinfectant being used on all commonly touched surfaces.

The CDC also recommends checking the Covid-19 infection statistics of your destination when traveling out of state. Airports, bus stations, gas stations, and train stations can all be locations where people can contract the virus.

When traveling one should be conscious of Maine’s travel policies, which include testing when returning to Maine from out of state and quarantining for at least 14 days. Some states are exempt from this including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey were exempt but that ended on Nov. 4th, 2020.

Students should keep these guidelines in mind while traveling and gathering this holiday season. Making an effort to stay safe over the holidays will not only help keep the Covid-19 community spread down but keep the campus spread down as well.        

 

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