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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 22, 2024

Tufts imposes no Thanksgiving travel restrictions this year

The former COVID-19 Testing Center at 62 Talbot Ave. is pictured on Oct. 3, 2021. As of this semester Tufts will no longer conduct regular surveillance testing for COVID-19.

In a change fromlast year’s policy, Tufts allowed students who traveled during Thanksgiving to return to campus in the time between Thanksgiving and winter break. The policy was announced to the Tufts community on Nov. 9 in an email from Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar.

Tufts' travel policy eased this year as COVID-19 vaccines were mandated for all members of the Tufts community. Students who traveled domestically did not need to obtain permission, but international travel was still restricted.

“Faculty, staff, and students seeking to travel internationally on university-related business must still obtain explicit approval from their dean (or their designee) of the school or unit,” the Global Tufts websitenotes.

Nikhita Karra, who flew home to Chicago over break, was not worried about COVID-19 exposure when returning home.

“Covid really didn’t impact me too much — I just had to wear a mask, but it was fine because I fly a lot going home and back to school," Karra, a sophomore, wrote in an electronic message to the Daily.

Dyuthy Ramachandran, who is from the Bay Area, also traveled home for Thanksgiving, and expressed anxiety about air travel.

"I am more nervous about planes, mostly due to the crowded environment,” Ramachandran, a first-year, wrote in an electronic message to the Daily.

Students who were off-campus during the break were not required to test during the break, but if students developed COVID-19 symptoms while off campus during the break, Marie Caggiano, director of Health and Wellness Services, advised taking additional safety precautions or contacting Health Service.

"Students who are feeling ill should seek medical advice," Caggiano wrote in an email to the Daily. "Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 ... should arrange testing and receive a negative result before traveling or returning to campus."

Many students opted to remain on campus during the break. According to Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins, around 400 students indicated their intent to remain on campus during Thanksgiving. Caggiano noted that those who remained on campus were expected to adhere to their normal COVID-19 testing schedule.

As demand for travel climbed after the previous Thanksgiving holiday, Michael Jordan, university infection control director, explained that COVID-19 data will be closely monitored following holiday travel.

"Local, state and federal public health authorities are keeping a close eye on the number, severity and location of COVID-19 cases, among other data, and will be sharing that information widely as it becomes available,” Jordan wrote in an email to the Daily.

In addition, Jordan stressed thatTufts has not yet decided whether to change restrictions after Thanksgiving break.

"We can’t speculate on the unknown,” Jordan said. “As we have throughout the pandemic, we will make data-driven decisions that prioritize the health and safety of the Tufts community and our neighbors.”

Although Caggiano encouraged members of the Tufts community to receive booster shots, Jordan noted that the university has not yet mandated booster shots.

“No decisions have been made to date,” Jordan said. “We’ll continue to review data and trends and be guided by what’s in the best interests of our community’s health and safety."

While COVID-19 is the focus of many people’s concerns, non-COVID respiratory infections are also spreading around campus. Caggiano urged students to receive flu vaccinations.

“Students should be vaccinated for flu as soon as possible if they did not already have a flu shot this season,” Caggiano said.

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