BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Charlie Baker joined governors in the northeast to encourage colleges to administer a COVID-19 test to students going home for Thanksgiving before they leave campus.
Students who test positive for the coronavirus would be encouraged to stay on campus. Students who are already quarantining on campus must remain in place until they have completed their quarantine.
“The region is experiencing a surge in COVID cases and a surge in the serious health impacts this disease brings with it. Working together on travel and higher education policies like these, states can have a bigger impact on COVID spread as students travel for the holidays,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Gathering with friends and family significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus and while testing and isolation guidelines can help slow the spread, it is up to everyone to wear a mask and avoid gathering indoors with people outside of your household.”
The move is sparked by rising COVID cases across the country – including the Northeast – and the possibility of increased transmission at Thanksgiving gatherings. On Wednesday, the seven-day weighted average of positive tests in Massachusetts was 3.31%,
The governors are also asking that colleges expand remove instruction for the weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break to reduce students’ travel. Students that do return to college campuses after Thanksgiving should receive a COVID-19 test and follow state quarantine protocols.
Besides Baker, the Regional Coalition of Northeast Governors includes New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.