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COVID on Campus — Late Fall UpdateIanni Le
With school breaks quickly approaching, we're sharing tips and tricks for safe travel during COVID-19.
Recent mass flight cancellations on Southwest and American Airlines have led to predictions that the upcoming holiday air travel season may be especially tumultuous. This is because of the potential of winter weather coming on top of ongoing labor shortages that have impacted the airline industry like many others. Problems with any airline or in any region can ripple through the entire system and are always most likely when travel volume is at its heaviest.
It's important for students and families to plan as far ahead as possible and prepare for cancellations and delays. Here are our best tips!
Any time your student travels by plane, they should be sure to bring a valid ID (see below for what they should do if they forget one), their phone and charger, and a credit or debit card.
A few more recommendations:
Parents, when you get the text from your college student that they are at the airport and have misplaced their wallet with drivers license and school ID, take note of these tips that may help your student get home without ID.
Your student should see a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agent and be prepared to:
This advice came from a college student who ran into this situation last summer. Luckily she knew the answers to the verification questions. The TSA agent shared that most college students aren't able to proceed because they can't answer the personal questions. Note also that you must be able to answer the questions with no hesitations and without a heavy pause to think about your answers. So help your student study up ahead of time!
Like airlines and airports, during the pandemic hotel chains adopted rules about social distancing and face coverings in public areas and some enacted enhanced safety and disinfecting measures (like the Hilton family of hotels' CleanStay program).
Most breakfast buffets are still on hold. The biggest risk will occur in high traffic areas like lobbies and elevators. Staying on the ground floor or in a room with doors that lead directly outside will limit the need for elevators or other small, enclosed spaces.
A few other ways to minimize risk in a hotel:
Stay home, call your doctor, get tested for COVID-19 if appropriate. Many airlines are still waiving change fees. Don't risk your own health and the health of others.
If you or your student develop symptoms of COVID-19, whether at home or while on travel, contact a health care provider to get tested immediately. Remember that even fully vaccinated people can get breakthrough infections and transmit the virus.
If you hope to visit with high-risk individuals after traveling this holiday season, take thorough precautions including getting tested, wearing a face covering and avoiding sharing items.
It may also be a good idea to spend time together outside, if weather permits, or allow for proper airflow when indoors to further minimize the risk. Pay special attention if you’ve traveled through areas of high risk, but also be aware that there are no guarantees even if you think your area has been low risk.