Editorial: Students should get tested before returning to campus

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Patrick Murphy

A surveillance testing sign hangs on the entrance of the NIU Health Services building.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the university released its plans and recommendations for Huskies traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday in a Nov. 5 email sent by NIU President Lisa Freeman. Freeman wrote students returning to campus after traveling to specified areas for the holiday are encouraged to self-quarantine, but aren’t required to do so. 

We feel the university should’ve had a stricter policy.

Despite the university not requiring gateway testing for students who will come back to campus after Thanksgiving break, we feel students should take it upon themselves to get tested before they come back to campus. The Northern Star editorial board urges students traveling home for Thanksgiving to get a COVID-19 test or self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. 

Huskies, we know you’re probably feeling anxious, stressed and fatigued. You may even be feeling disconnected from those around you. Here at the Northern Star, we’ve been feeling pretty disconnected too. So what better way to reconnect than to spend time with your loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday? 

We won’t tell you not to go see your families, but we do think you should get yourself tested for COVID-19 before returning to the university. 

As of Tuesday, Illinois has seen 664,620 positive COVID-19 cases, resulting in 11,552 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

During the week of Nov. 16, DeKalb County alone had nearly 2,000 COVID-19 positive residents, and 45 people have died due to the virus, according to the DeKalb County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard

We’re not trying to scare you with these numbers, but we do believe students need to think hard about whether it’s worth traveling to different communities to celebrate a holiday that will still happen next year.

We don’t want to discourage you from visiting with family and reconnecting, especially if you’re experiencing pandemic fatigue. We just want to remind everyone to take your own health and that of your loved ones into consideration before traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you’re a student going home for Thanksgiving break, please get tested before you come back to campus. We need to come together as Huskies during this time to ensure the safety of our community. Stay safe, and be healthy, Huskies.