AMES, Iowa — Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means some universities are wrapping up their semesters. Iowa State University has a plan to mitigate the spread of COVD-19 as students get ready to go home.
“We are seeing an increase in our COVID-19 cases within our campus community, which reflects what we’re seeing more broadly, within Story County and also within the state of Iowa,” ISU COVID-19 Public Health Coordinator Kristen Obbink said.
Iowa State University made the decision a couple of months ago to end the fall semester on November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving.
But that doesn’t mean students need to go home.
“Yeah, they will be allowed to stay in our residence halls throughout winter break if they need or want to do that, so they aren’t required to leave,” Obbink said.
But if they are going home, ISU is opening up their COVID-19 testing to all students and staff, regardless if they have symptoms or were a close contact with someone who tested positive.
“In order to help individuals who might be leaving campus to go home and spend time with their families,” Obbink said.
This is happening November 16th through the 21st, ISU said getting a test can help students have peace of mind, but they want to make sure students stay vigilant even if they test negative.
“That information is just a point in time it’s a snapshot in time. So, along with that testing, it’s so important to make sure that we each take that personal responsibility to be cautious and follow those mitigation protocols in addition to having a negative test,” Obbink said.
Home for the holidays might feel like a break from reality, but in reality, COVID-19 is community spread in Iowa.
“We just each need to kind of double down on our efforts and it’s an especially difficult time of the year to do that. That’s all the more reason that we should is because we want to make sure we’re protecting the people that we love,” Obbink said.
The University of Iowa is ending their semester on December 19th, but every class after Thanksgiving break will be online-only.