College students await negative COVID-19 test results before traveling home for the holidays
LINCOLN, R.I. (WLNE) – For out-of-state college students, traveling home for the holidays isn’t easy.
Trent Tougas is from Lincoln, but he’s currently in New Hampshire at Plymouth State University working towards his Masters.
“Me personally, I don’t want to go home and put my family at risk,” Tougas said. “So, I’m going to stay and get that last test as well.”
He’s just days away from the end of the semester and all that’s keeping him from home is a negative COVID-19 test result.
“I was a little nervous as the cases were rising that I wouldn’t be able to go home,” Tougas said. “My brother who actually goes to WPI isn’t allowed to leave campus for Thanksgiving. If they do go home, they are not allowed to come back on campus.”
Tougas says his school has been doing weekly rapid tests. They’ll stay home from Thanksgiving to the New Year and get tested before they return to campus in late January.
With one week left until Thanksgiving, that’s what Governor Raimondo is asking college students and staff to do in a joint effort with Governors from across the region.
Governors from all over the Northeast, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are teaming up to encourage testing for all students before they leave campus. The hope is to decrease the chances of spreading the virus from one state to another.
Under the new guidance, colleges and universities are asked to increase remote instruction to end the fall semester and provide testing for students.
Students who test positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before going home or to work with the Department of Health on how to arrange travel safely.
For Tougas, even if the holidays are different this year, he says he’s just happy to be with his family.
“I know there are only gatherings of 10 people, but we’ll see a little bit of a normal side of society and we’ll get to see some family members and enjoy the holidays the best we can,” Tougas said.