‘I’d rather be safe than sick’; UVM and SUNY Plattsburgh prepare students for Thanksgiving break

CHAMPLAIN VALLEY (WFFF) — Many college students are getting ready to head home, some for months. As they prepare to reunite with their families, schools are making sure to send students home safely.

Vermont’s Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine warned travelers in Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing that it’s still not the time to let your guard down. 

“Not just coming home and celebrating Thanksgiving by having their usual seat at the family table,” said Dr. Levine.   

He recommends that students returning home, especially those coming into the state, quarantine. 

“Quarantine for these students means coming home and having hopefully their own bedroom to themselves,” he said. “And basically not interact with the rest of their household

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These preparations come as the University of Vermont saw 27 recent student cases, one faculty, and seven staff members. At Suny Plattsburgh, 83 cases were recorded with two additional Tuesday.  

Suny Plattsburgh senior Sarah Apple told me she plans to head home Monday. 

“Obviously, I’m going to be careful. Wear my mask around most people,” said Apple. “Like if I’m going to my grandparents’ house, I’ll wear the mask inside.”

Another senior, who got COVID twice in the spring and summer, left campus early to avoid the cases. “I was sick. I couldn’t walk without having my inhaler with me. I would walk from my room to the bathroom and I would be out of breath,” said Suny Plattsburgh senior Alexandra Perez.

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Perez says she’s never been that sick in her life.

“It was really scary. I would lay down in bed and I couldn’t breathe sometimes and it’d be like, ‘I’m scared to go to bed, even’ because I don’t know if my breathing is going to stop in the middle of the night,” she said. “It’s just a scary thing.”

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Like Alexandra, all students were tested before going home. 

“I just wanted to make sure that I was safe. If I felt that I was sick, though, or it was not okay for me to come home, I would have stayed. For me, I’d rather be safe than sick. That’s kind of been my motto through the whole thing.”  

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The University of  the Vermont anticipates all 27 students will be out of isolation by Thanksgiving. 

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