From Nov. 22 to Nov. 28, Temple students will have time off from classes for fall break and for the Thanksgiving holiday. While 58.2 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, The Editorial Board believes that it’s still important for students to take COVID-19 safety measures if they are planning to travel during the break.
Last year, Temple University urged students to avoid in-person gatherings with people other than their roommates or housemates and to self-quarantine for the two weeks prior to their departure in a university-wide email sent out by Director of Student Health Services Mark Denys.
This year, an email of this nature has not been sent out yet, but The Editorial Board maintains that students must take action themselves to create a travel plan that is safe for them and those they will come into contact with. Even if Temple does send out an email to students about COVID-19 safety before break, students shouldn’t wait for that message to make safe travel plans.
The Editorial Board is not intending to provide students with medical advice. Instead, the board urges students to use this editorial as a tool to fuel their own research or to begin conversations with roommates, family members or anyone that may be affected by their travel plans. For students that plan to attend holiday gatherings, these conversations can include inquiring about attendees’ vaccination statuses or what locations they’re arriving from.
Students can also research the COVID-19 trends in the area they intend to travel to and reevaluate their plans if necessary.
The Editorial Board encourages students to get tested for COVID-19 before departing campus and also before returning to campus. Students can book an appointment on campus through the Patient Health Portal. For off-campus testing options, students can view other testing sites in the area through the City of Philadelphia’s website.
If students are unable to secure a rapid test, The Editorial Board suggests that they wear a mask or quarantine if they are still waiting for results once they arrive at their destination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people that are not fully vaccinated delay their travel until they are fully vaccinated, according to their website. However, if they must travel during the break, they are discouraged from long-distance train or bus trips because these methods of transportation often involve sitting or standing within six feet of others, according to the CDC’s guide for unvaccinated travelers.
Generally, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the two-dose vaccines, like Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson, according to the CDC.
In order to stay safe while travelling, people are encouraged to wear their masks in indoor public spaces, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces and monitor their health daily, according to the CDC’s website.
The Editorial Board commends students for adhering to COVID-19 protocol, like wearing masks and getting tested when necessary, and wants to remind them that break is not an exception to following these guidelines.