As college students prepare to travel home, experts offer safety tips for families


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Despite the warnings from officials not to travel, college students across the country are preparing to head home for Thanksgiving break.

At the University of Dayton, Tuesday is the final day of in-person classes for the fall semester.

“I’m a little nervous to go home,” said Maria Claiborne, a UD junior. “I kind of feel a little bit safer on campus at this point.”

While Claiborne has a short ride to Springboro for Thanksgiving break, students Ciara Murray and Caleb Lones will make a much longer drive south to Alabama.

“Less people and more room for our stuff,” Murray said of her decision to travel by car.

During their final days on campus this semester, several students told 2 NEWS they believe many of their fellow Flyers have been careful lately to lessen the spread of the virus.

“We’ve pretty much just stayed in our house,” said Liz Schuler, a junior. “We haven’t had anybody over.”

According to health experts, although any kind of travel poses a risk of spreading the coronavirus, there are steps students and their families can take to lessen their chances of getting sick.

“Everyone, no matter where they are, no matter what state they are [in], should be limiting their contact with people as much as possible,” said Dan Suffoletto of Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

The safest way for anyone to travel during the pandemic is alone, by car, with as few stops as possible, Suffoletto said. If the student or a family member at home is sick, find alternative accommodations, he added.

Once the family is reunited, Suffoletto suggests opening windows to improve air flow and limiting shared spaces and touch points.

“If you have a chance of having separate bathrooms and you have that luxury, we definitely recommend that everyone use their own bathroom space,” he said.

Many students hope their time away from campus won’t be extended longer than planned.

“Being a freshman, too, it’s hard because you’re so excited to get to school and what not,” said Kate Zieziula, a UD student. “But if it’s going to help [stop the spread of] COVID, hopefully that will be a good thing.”

University of Dayton officials sent a note to students Wednesday urging them to stay on campus until they leave for break.

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