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Heading home for break? Local health expert urges you to get tested beforehand

Traveling is discouraged, but if you are visiting family, make sure you get tested and isolate yourself

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With many students headed home over the next week for the holiday season, Texas A&M is urging all students to get tested beforehand. 

Just like many other holidays this year, Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow might look a little different. 

“Don’t get tested on Monday and think that means I can go to the bar on Tuesday and home on Wednesday. It’s really interesting because people are so eager to get with their family members, particularly people who haven’t seen their loved ones for some time. But just today the CDC put out another bulletin really to advise people not to travel during the holidays and to get together with only people in their immediate families and their immediate households," said Texas A&M School of Public Health Dr. Marcia Ory. 

Although traveling is discouraged, Dr. Ory said if you are visiting family and friends to make sure that you are getting tested and isolating yourself.  

“Avoid large gatherings. That means when you see people, be physically distant, wear your face mask and wash your hands. It’s these simple things. You can get together with family for Thanksgiving but still if you can, we’re in texas. Do things smart. Have your family event outdoors. If you have an elder relative and you’re concerned, maybe what you do is a virtual Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Ory. 

If your plans have been disrupted because of the pandemic, you are not alone.  

“Originally, I was supposed to fly to Orlando to spend Thanksgiving with my mom, but as you know cases are trending upwards now in both Texas and Florida so my mom texted me Monday say hey maybe you should just stay in Texas for Thanksgiving. So I'm going to go spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family,” said A&M Senior Marcus Frazier.

Some people are modifying their traditions to be virus safe.

“There definitely won’t be as many of us as there usually are and we tend to hug each other and say hello. We won’t really be doing that as much this year. We plan on being more spaced out when we actually choose to eat instead of being crammed in the living room watching TV," said A&M Senior Stanzi Rowe. 

It is important to continue practicing the health and safety protocols even when you go home. 

“It’s definitely scary. Me and my sister and all my cousins who are coming home from college are all getting covid tested before we come home, just to make sure that we’re not putting anyone at risk,” said Rowe.

Although these changes to holiday celebrations are not ideal, they are necessary for the health and safety of you and your loved ones.

“It seems like life gets put on hold for a second or you have to transition from working in your home office to working from home, it’s not something that anybody wants to deal with,” said Frazier.  

A&M is offering free testing services to all students and faculty on campus. For more information on testing sites and appointments, visit here.