Thanksgiving is soon approaching, and the coronavirus is spreading at an alarming and record-breaking rate. Officials are therefore responding with recommendations to mitigate the danger of coronavirus. That is the context for the call by seven governors in the northeastern part of the United States on colleges and universities to provide coronavirus testing to all students heading home.
Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, and the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts banded together to broadcast a coherent and unified message. They would like to see all residential universities and colleges offer easily accessible and widely available testing for all students before they leave the shelter of their schools so anyone found to have the virus can isolate and quarantine and keep their families safe.
“With Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season fast approaching, we have to recognize that any large family gathering — particularly among different age groups — runs the risk of turning the dinner table into a COVID hotspot,” Murphy said in a statement. “To reduce the risk of transmission across our region, we are encouraging colleges and universities to ramp up testing for students returning home, and for anyone who tests positive to adhere to their state’s quarantine restrictions.”
Together the governors arrived at their plan during an emergency summit last weekend. The recommendations they arrived at are:
• That colleges and universities finish their fall semesters online. They do not want to see students going home for Thanksgiving, going back to campus, and then going back home again for December’s winter break.
• If any colleges/universities decide they will be open for in-person learning, all students coming back to campus should be tested and all those testing positive will follow all isolation and quarantine protocols.
New York has already that its state university system will provide “exit testing” and that students will not be returning to campus for the final weeks of the fall semester but will finish through remote learning.