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With this being the first break of the semester, students are eager to get home, destress and see family. While it's good to cherish this time, it's also important to keep you and your family safe. Here are some tips to travel home safely this holiday season. 

Avoid large gatherings

Opt for virtual dinners with family members, or stick to Thanksgiving Dinner with just your household members. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this provides a lower risk for the spread of the virus. If you must gather, try to keep it at a maximum of 10 people, hold events outside, wear a mask and social distance.

Shop online

You can shop all you want from the comfort of your own home when shopping online and stay safe from large crowds in stores.

Reduce traveling

According to the CDC, travel increases the chance of you getting and spreading COVID-19. They also suggest avoiding flying as well. You can be exposed to the virus in the air and surfaces while traveling.

Follow state guidelines

Each state has different guidelines based on the number of cases present. David Oliver, a member of WKU’s COVID-19 Hotline team, suggested wearing a mask when you’re not eating. When you are eating, don’t sit close to others.

“Be aware of your surroundings, keep your distance, wear your mask and follow the basic rules,” he said.

Increase ventilation indoors

Crack open a window or turn on a fan to increase ventilation while inside. Inside gatherings with poor ventilation can cause more of a risk. If it’s not too chilly outside, try to hold activities outside.

Avoid riding in cars with people outside your household

Try to meet places where you can stay separate and not be in an enclosed vehicle for a period of time, Oliver said. Enclosed spaces are where the virus becomes very transferable.

If you’ve been exposed to or have COVID-19, refrain from attending any in-person events.

Oliver suggests that if you start to have any symptoms, immediately self-quarantine, consult with a physician, or get a test to see if it’s COVID-19. Especially as we are dealing with flu season, it’s important to make sure we’re keeping ourselves and others safe.

Henri Aboah can be reached at aronie.aboah179@topper.wku.edu.