College students face tough choices about going home for Thanksgiving this year

College students should take COVID-19 precautions when returning to families for the holiday

ATLANTA — It’s been a tradition for most American’s since they were born. The annual late November trip home for Thanksgiving dinner with family or friends.

But this year during the coronavirus pandemic with the Center for Disease Control and other medical authorities warning us it may not be safe for older family members, college students and many others who are having to make difficult decisions.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

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Saturday, Georgia hit yet another sobering milestone as more than 400,000 people in the state have now tested positive for the virus. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports more than 8,500 of those people died.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke with Dr. Philip Spandorfer who says anyone planning on spending time around vulnerable family members should quarantine for two weeks. With Thanksgiving only a few days away, Spandorfer says there are other safety measures you and your family can take.

He says it IS possible to have a safe Thanksgiving.

Spandorfer suggests anyone traveling in from out of town get tested for COVID-19 and for those hosting Thanksgiving dinners, he recommends eating outside if at all possible.

“Maybe have one person be the person who serves or before you pick up your plate and go down the line , you have to squirt hand sanitizer and clean your hands and then everything you’re touching is clean,” Spandorfer said.

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Georgia State University student Helen Medlin told Seiden she lives with her younger sister Caroline who’s a freshman at the University of Georgia and their 91-year old Grandmother. She’s not taking any chances this Thanksgiving.

“My sister is coming in tomorrow and she’s going to be on a two week quarantine in her room and she’s not going back to campus for finals,” Medlin said.

Medlin says her sister, like many college students her age, is enjoying college life despite the virus spreading among students on campus.

“She’s been in a sorority and she’s been having fun while she’s been there but she knows when she comes home we take a big break from all that,” Medlin says.

Dr. Spandorfer says when it comes to college students returning home and meeting up with friends, they should take precautions.

“Wear a mask. Wash your hands and social distance the best you can. I would encourage them not to go into a restaurant or into bars,” Spandorfer said.

Medlin says she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her grandmother.

“My grandma’s my best friend and that’s why we’re doing it. We do it all for her. It’s been pretty anxiety ridden because of the risk and everything,” Medlin said.

CDC releases Thanksgiving coronavirus guidelines