Many College Students Head Home for Thanksgiving Lacking Covid-19 Tests

Hundreds of thousands of young people are seen posing a significant health risk to their hometowns

As airports and airlines around the world continue to operate in the midst of a global pandemic, not every flight and region has the same Covid-19 protocols. Three WSJ reporters flew to different regions around the world to look at how air travel has changed.

Hundreds of thousands of college students are poised to leave campuses next week and travel home without taking a Covid-19 test, creating a significant health risk in their hometowns.

Less than one-third of schools have mandated testing, said Chris Marsicano, an educational-studies professor at Davidson College and founding director of the College Crisis Initiative, an effort to track the responses to the pandemic by colleges and universities around the country. Some schools are asking students to spend the holiday on campus, while others are moving all classes online after Thanksgiving break.

“Any institution that is not doing exit testing right now has the potential to be a time bomb,” Dr. Marsicano said. “They are likely contributing to an incredible increase across the country.”

When students moved to campus in the fall, there was an uptick in the U.S. of around 3,200 cases a day, according to research by Dr. Marsicano and colleagues.

He expects a similar increase as students leave for Thanksgiving break—only this time the spread wouldn’t be focused on colleges but on hometowns.

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