Information You Need: Traveling for the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches, many people may choose to travel, including students returning home for winter break. Below we have highlighted some tips to be aware of this year if you do decide to travel for the holiday season: 

Know the risksThe severity of a COVID-19 case varies from person to person, but can be especially severe for individuals within a high risk group. Some will get sick, while others will experience mild to no symptoms.


Everyone who is infected can spread COVID-19. Therefore, you may not know that you are sick, but you could pass the virus to your mother, grandfather, or other people who may suffer severe illness or even death.
Avoid back-and-forth travelIt is best to only travel to your home or destination once! Traveling to and from your destination increases the risk of transmission between your communities.
Consider your COVID-19 statusIf you have never had the virus, you are not immune.

If you tested positive in the past 90 days and recovered, you are likely immune and non-infectious and pose little risk to your family or friends.

If you tested positive more than 90 days ago, your immunity may have waned and you might be at risk of reinfection. 

To find if you have had the virus recently, get an antibody test. Testing is available statewide, but registration is required. Visit this link for more information.
Self-quarantine before heading homeAnyone who has not tested positive in the past 90 days should aim to receive two negative PCR diagnostic tests 24 hours apart and consider a self-quarantine period before travelling.
Plan for safe travelOpt for driving over flying or other public transportation! In your own car you can have more control over who you are exposed to compared to an airport or airplane. For more information, visit our previous update.


If you do choose to fly, book your flight with an airline that is taking safety precautions (e.g., avoiding booking middle seats).


Always wear a mask, follow physical distancing guidelines, and practice proper hand hygiene while travelling!
Self-quarantine after arriving homeThere is no risk-free way to travel. It is a good idea to make a plan for self-quarantine after returning home. In preparation, students should discuss a plan with their family to prepare for isolation should someone at home get sickUse this checklist to find out how your household can reduce COVID-19 risk ahead of time.
Additional guidance for students returning homeBelow are outlined “safest,” “safer,” and “unsafe” scenarios for students returning home:

Safest: Students should obtain a PCR diagnostic test. If the test is negative, it is still important to reduce all contacts for at least 7 days. Visit this link for information about quarantine guidelines

Safer: Students living in dorms or apartment buildings with few to no cases can leave for home without a pre-departure quarantine if they obtain a negative rapid antigen test and have a written plan for self-quarantine for at least 7 days upon returning home. This option is most appropriate for students who: Currently live in dorms or apartments with a low prevalence of COVID-19 (e.g., <5%),  Do NOT have family members >65 years or others with medical vulnerabilities at home, Have space to safely and effectively quarantine at home.

 Unsafe: It is unsafe for students to move home if they have tested positive in the past 10 days.
It is unsafe for students to move home from buildings with high COVID-19 case numbers without both a negative antigen test and pre-departure self-quarantine. 
For students living in lower-prevalence settings, it is unsafe to move home without pre-departure self-quarantine if there are medically vulnerable individuals at home.

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