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Tips for CSU students to travel safely over winter break

Graphic illustration depicting coronavirus bubbles surrounding a legal building
(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

With the end of the semester approaching, traveling home for break will be inevitable. As COVID-19 cases surge, ensuring safe and smart travels will slow the spread and keep families as healthy as possible.

Many Colorado counties have moved to level red while others remain in the orange and yellow levels, according to the COVID-19 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website. In a COVID-19 update on Nov. 17, CDPHE updated the restrictions put on counties at the red level. These now include no indoor dining, reduced gym capacity to 10%, no in-person personal gatherings, in severe risk counties there should be no multi-household gatherings and at-risk people should stay home.

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CSU has provided students with many travel recommendations at covid.colostate.edu. This website states that you should not travel home if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

It is recommended by CSU and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get tested before traveling, even if you show no symptoms. If your test comes back positive, it is important to postpone your travels and quarantine yourself, according to guidelines on the CDC’s website. The CDC also recommends social distancing and wearing your mask two weeks before travel to reduce exposure before your trip.

The CSU COVID-19 website also mentions that it is important to be mindful of how you’re traveling. It mentions that wearing your mask when in public spaces, especially airports or train and bus stations, will help to reduce your risk of exposure. The COVID-19 website recommends that when taking taxis or riding in cars with other people, try to have the windows open or turn on non-recycled air conditioning and continue to wear your mask.

This website also warns against airplanes, saying that while they filter their air, they make it very difficult to socially distance, so the risk of exposure is still high. If traveling by car, sanitizing the surfaces before and after a trip will help reduce a transfer of bacteria and germs.

The CSU COVID-19 website gives another tip to carry a COVID-19 travel kit with you. Inside, you can keep hand sanitizer, wipes, your own food and snacks and extra masks, which are sealed away from any exposure, according to the website.

When at your destination, the CDC suggests social distancing with those who did not travel with you and continuing to wear your mask to ensure both and their safety and your own. The CDC also mentions opening the windows if you’re staying with friends and family to air out the shared spaces and create better circulation.

It’s also important to consider low exposure activities to do with your family and friends with whom you’re staying. The CDC recommends taking socially distanced walks or spending time outside on a patio or porch.

CSU provides a graphic with more examples of low exposure activities. The graphic suggests gathering only with your household and meeting with others virtually. Watching sports, parades, movies or playing video games are another way to spend quality time with your household without going outside, according to CSU.

After your travels, the CDC recommends limiting any non-essential activities for a week while also getting a COVID-19 test. If the test is positive, it’s important to quarantine from anyone else to keep from spreading the virus, according to the CDC.

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During this holiday season, it’s important to consider the health and safety of friends and family when traveling home. By following these recommendations, continuing to socially distance, wearing a mask and getting tested, you will help ensure a happy and healthy holiday season.

Izzi Brown can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @isabelbrown02.

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