November 9, 2020
To: All Students
From: Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Health Considerations for Thanksgiving Travel
Date: November 6, 2020
With just over two weeks before Thanksgiving, when many students plan to spend time with family and friends, I am writing with reminders and advice to help you prevent the spread of COVID-19 while traveling and in your home communities.
- The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago require that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must observe an isolation period, and anyone who has close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual must follow quarantine protocols (the University’s full exposure protocols are posted online). This means that students who are still in isolation or quarantine, whether on- or off-campus, as of November 26 (the date of Thanksgiving) are expected to remain where they are until the period is completed. Staff in UChicago Student Wellness and area deans of students are prepared to help support students who find themselves in this particular situation.
- The risk of spread during Thanksgiving is is one more reason for us all to continue observing the UChicago Health Pact. Thanks to the vigilance demonstrated during the 2020 Autumn Quarter, we have greatly limited the spread of the virus on campus. Following the health pact’s provisions before and during your travel and when you are at home can help keep your family and loved ones safe too. If you will be spending time with anyone whose age or health places them in a high-risk group, we strongly encourage you to have no close contacts for seven days before you travel. Wearing masks, distancing, limiting your in-person interactions with others and practicing other Health Pact behaviors are proven ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
- The University of Chicago Medicine has posted helpful tips on how to safely celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The advice includes opting for small gatherings with those in your household bubble; wearing a face mask and eye protection when you travel; and avoiding traveling long distances when visiting older or more vulnerable family members. You can find additional holiday health guidance from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Please know that some domestic and international destinations may require pre-travel testing or quarantine upon arrival. It is important for you to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your destination. More information for international students is posted on the Campus and Student Life website.
If you are in isolation or contract COVID-19 and have questions related to planned travel, please contact UChicago Student Wellness at 773-834-WELL. For more information on the requirements of Illinois residents related to isolation and quarantine, please review the procedures under public health orders issued by the state and the City of Chicago.
I want to express my continued thanks for our students’ ongoing commitment to keeping our University community healthy and safe. I wish you all an enjoyable holiday season.