As the semester winds down for students at Montana State University, many of them will be heading back home for winter break in the coming weeks. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the university is asking students to take several precautions before heading home to make sure the virus doesn’t travel with them.
“Now is the time when we have approximately two weeks ahead of break to pare things down a little bit,” said Michael Becker, MSU News Service director.
MSU sent out its weekly bulletin to students Friday with a breakdown on what students should be doing in these last two weeks before traveling home for the holidays. “Avoid those large gatherings, limit the number of people you’re having contact with, and really be aware of that so you can almost pseudo-self quarantine,” added Becker.
The university has seen a significant rise in cases the past couple weeks, which is why they’re asking students to self-quarantine before traveling. They’re only 10 cases shy from reaching a grim milestone of 1000 cases since August.
As of Thursday, there are 163 active cases, which has pushed MSU to its capacity on isolation and quarantine space.
“Our quarantine and self-isolation housing on campus is going to be available for those students whose periods intersect or overlap with the break,” said Becker.
While the university is allowing students to stay in isolation housing past the end of the semester if need be, students aren’t required to, which means they could potentially leave on their own terms and put others at risk while traveling.
“It’s highly recommended that they stay in their quarantine as they’ve been directed by the Gallatin City-County Health Department,” added Becker.
The campus is not requiring students to get tested when they return to campus in the spring, but they are asking students to keep monitoring their health and to take the same precautions to help limit any potential outbreaks.
“We understand that the holidays are a time where they are going to go home. They are going to go spend that time with their family and their loved ones. We understand that people are going to travel. What we ask is they take the best precautions that they can, starting now by limiting their social circles, avoiding gatherings, to keep themselves isolated to the best of their ability and not infect themselves so they’re not taking the virus home with them.”