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MSU students share concerns over going home for holidays amid COVID-19 pandemic

November 26, 2020
A car drives through campus on Aug. 11, 2020.
A car drives through campus on Aug. 11, 2020. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

As MSU sophomore Cooper Burton heads home to Ohio for the holidays, he is worried about transmitting COVID-19 to his father who has Parkinson's Disease.

"I have been trying to quarantine as much as possible. I had to see a couple people for like, work stuff," Burton said. "But other than that I've been keeping to myself, and then I'm also part of the weekly spit testing."

With cases on the rise, many students are worried about COVID-19 transmission if they're going home for the winter break, per a State News survey of 50 respondents.

Burton's family has also reevaluated gathering with his grandparents, which is something Burton said he will miss when his family celebrates Thanksgiving this year.

Like Burton, a lot of Spartans are also celebrating fall break without members from other households. However, there are still many who plan to celebrate with those outside of their household during the break. Others were unsure or preferred not to say.

"I'm always nervous about going home just in case I am bringing something home because I don't want to spread it to my family, or anyone in my house," senior Carla Simone said.

Simone prepared two weeks before going home by stocking up on groceries and staying home. She was also tested for COVID-19 twice.

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, Simone said she's going to miss her family's regular celebrations. Due to COVID-19, each immediate family is celebrating at their own house.

Prior to fall departure, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced free COVID-19 saliva tests for on and off-campus students. The tests either recommend or do not recommend additional COVID-19 testing to students.

MSU junior Caitlin Dwyer also used the saliva test, but said she would probably go home even if her results recommended more testing. She would get a test at home and quarantine there.

Dwyer had a close call with COVID-19 this year when her roommates had it. However, she never got it.

As a person with asthma, Dwyer said she takes the virus seriously. She avoids the bars, sees few friends and goes grocery shopping as little as possible.

A majority of students said they have been or plan to get tested for the coronavirus before going home, while a third said they do not.

It's been a hard semester, Burton said. In a single dorm, he has little contact with others.

"I guess the thing that I've been telling myself to get myself through it, is that if I could save even one person's life by not going out, it would be worth it for me," he said.

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