Doctor offers advice to families with college students returning home amid pandemic

Masks at home

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- With college students returning home for Thanksgiving, a family practice doctor has advice on how to do it as safely as possible during the pandemic.

Cook County Health family practice Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal said it’s not a bad idea for college students to be tested for COVID before they return home and quarantine at school as best they can before making the return trip. They may also need to quarantine at home, she said, especially if there are more at-risk people who live in the home: people who are older or who have medically-fragile conditions.

The doctor said it may be that for some days after a college student returns home, to keep family as safe as can be, masks should be worn and physical distancing kept even in the home.

"This is a really hard year. Nobody’s questioning that. And, we have to be very creative in how we’re doing things, but it’s worth it if the outcome means that we’re all there to celebrate next year," Dr. Rajagopal said.

And, if the college students refuse to quarantine, because they badly want to see friends, she suggests, "If they’re going to be out and about and we can’t keep them quarantined or isolated, then just reiterating the basics: masking, social distancing, hand-washing."

Bottom line from what Dr. Rajagopal calls “this horrible year”--staying healthy is the most important thing. "

We’re all struggling through this, but we have to try and keep it in perspective," she said.