Doctor says consider the risks when planning for the holidays amid pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the countdown to Thanksgiving is on, so is Fall Break, which means college students who are away at school may be possibly returning home.

Local health officials said they understand that families are in a tough position about what to do. Dr. Nick Hysmith, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Methodist Le Bonheur, said it is really comes down to a case by case situation.

“It’s going to be a challenge for families because we all haven’t seen each other in months, a lot of us,” Hysmith said. “You may need to rethink some of those options, and I know that’s a sad thing to think about. “

Hysmith said when it comes to how a family gathers it comes down to a case by case scenario.

“I think many college campuses are doing a very good job of keeping up with the cases that they have there,” Hysmith said.

There are multiple factors to take into consideration such as how is the school handling the virus, are the schools doing in-person learning, and are they socially distanced? 

Several college communities across the country have made national news following outbreaks among the student and staff population.

Locally a spokesperson with the University of Memphis said testing is available campus-wide. Additionally, the spokesperson said they will continue to provide testing after students leave for the semester as well as provide the flu vaccine.

At the University of Mississippi, the university will not require students to get a COVID test before returning home, but they are offering more days of free asymptomatic testing. They are also offering students isolation and quarantine housing. 

Additionally, at LeMoyne-Owen College, Methodist-Le Bonheur has partnered with the school to open a clinic on campus, where students can also be tested for COVID-19.

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