2020 Guidance on Student Holiday Travel

All courses will move to a remote format after Thanksgiving break. See your options for traveling to and from the Tucson area during this period and related requirements for COVID-19 testing and isolation.

Thanksgiving Schedule

All courses after Thanksgiving break will be provided via remote means to minimize the need for travel around the holidays and to reduce on-campus interactions.

Following the Thanksgiving break (November 26-29), eight days of instruction will remain. All instruction, final exams, and assessments will be completed remotely.  

Minimize Travel

The holidays present a high risk for increased spread of the coronavirus because of greatly increased travel around the nation and because families are likely to have in-person celebrations with friends and family, some of whom may be at high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection. The most effective way to reduce this risk is to minimize travel whenever possible.

It is imperative that all Wildcats recognize the higher risk of infection posed by travel and take the necessary steps to reduce those risks. We must remember that many individuals infected with COVID-19 may not have any symptoms (especially young people) but can still spread the coronavirus to others who may develop severe, and sometimes fatal, symptoms. See information about vulnerable populations.

Student Options for Holiday Travel

Students living in the Tucson area are expected to select from one of the three options below and comply with the respective recommendations. These recommendations are based on CDC guidance and best practices in public health aimed at minimizing the increased risk of spread of COVID-19 associated with traveling. The University expects that, as responsible members of the University community, all Wildcats will follow the recommendations provided below. 

This guidance applies to any University student enrolled in main campus and currently living in Tucson, who will be traveling outside of the Tucson between November 15 and the end of the Fall 2020 semester. This includes students living in on-campus dorms, Greek housing, or off-campus housing.

Students who plan to leave their student residence for the Thanksgiving break are strongly encouraged not to return until the Spring semester begins in January 2021.

  • Students should consider this option only if they are traveling to a location with supportive study conditions, including reliable internet service and a quiet workspace.

Testing, Isolation and Stay-at-Home Procedures:

Register for and take a rapid antigen test at least 10 days prior to Thanksgiving break travel.

  • If test results are positive, the student must isolate in the isolation dorm or in off-campus housing, following this protocol, for 10 days. 
     
  • If test results are negative, follow the Stay-at-Home protocol (see details below) until the date of travel.

Schedule an appointment for a free antigen test (by appointment, no walk-ins)

Per CDC Guidelines, COVID-19 positive individuals must NOT board an airplane without completing the 10-day isolation following the test result. See more information.

Students should leave for Thanksgiving break and return to their student residence after the break only if there are personal responsibilities that require back-and-forth travel.

Testing, Isolation and Stay-At-Home Procedures:

Register for and take a rapid antigen test at least 10 days prior to Thanksgiving break travel.

  • If test results are positive, isolate in the isolation dorm or in off-campus housing, following this protocol, for 10 days. 
     
  • If test results are negative, follow Stay-at-Home protocol until the planned Thanksgiving travel.

Schedule an appointment for a free antigen test (by appointment, no walk-ins)

Upon Your Return:

After returning to Tucson after the Thanksgiving break, take a rapid antigen test.

  • If test results are positive, isolate in the isolation dorm or in off campus housing, following this protocol, for 10 days. 
  • If test results are negative, follow Stay-at-Home protocol for 10 days (all classes will be delivered remotely at this time).

Travel over Winter Break:

If traveling for the winter break, register for and take a rapid antigen test at least 10 days prior to travel.

  • If test results are positive, isolate in the isolation dorm or in off-campus housing, following this protocol, for 10 days. 
     
  • If test results are negative, follow Stay-at-Home protocol until the date of winter travel.

Per CDC Guidelines, COVID-19 positive individuals must NOT board an airplane without completing the 10-day isolation following the test result. See more information.

Students who do not plan to leave their student residence (including dorms) for Thanksgiving break and will complete their semester remotely from their student residence do not need to be tested, except if they plan to travel over the Winter break.

Travel over Winter Break:

Before traveling for winter break, register for and take a rapid antigen test at least 10 days prior to winter break travel.

  • If test results are positive, isolate in the isolation dorm or in off-campus housing, following this protocol, for 10 days. 
     
  • If test results are negative, follow Stay-at-Home protocol until departing for Winter break travel.

See testing locations & hours

International Students: Please reference the guidance on international travel.

Testing Information

Students who will be traveling for either Thanksgiving or Winter break are strongly encouraged to get a rapid antigen test 10-days prior to travel. The test is is done using a self-administered nasal swab and can detect active COVID-19 infection. Results are typically available within one hour.

You can schedule an appointment for free antigen testing November 9 – December 23. See testing locations and hours.

Students who participate in activities that require regular testing (e.g. student athletes, ROTC) may use that testing to meet the requirements in this guidance. 

If you have had a positive virus test in the past 90 days: In accordance with CDC guidelines, students who have received a positive PCR or antigen test within 90 days of scheduled travel do not need further testing or isolation prior to holiday travel. Students are encouraged to register for an antibody test through the IRB-approved statewide research study.

Travel Survey

To help ensure students and their families make responsible travel plans that minimize the amount of travel, reduce the risk of transmission while traveling, and allow students to complete their studies, students are required to respond to a brief travel survey and observe best public health practices while traveling over the holidays.

The Dean of Students Office will follow up with all students who do not respond to the survey.

Take the Survey

Key Questions to Consider

Before completing the Thanksgiving Travel Survey, ask yourself the following questions:

If yes:

You are strongly encouraged to minimize travel and not return to your student residence until Spring semester. All classes and exams will be delivered remotely after Thanksgiving break.

If no:

You are strongly encouraged to stay in Tucson for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Cases are on the rise and back and forth travel during the holidays could put you at higher risk for infection.

High risk includes older people (65+) or those with a chronic health condition (e.g. those with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic lung conditions, etc. regardless of age). See information about vulnerable populations.

If yes, and you need to return to campus after Thanksgiving:

You are strongly encouraged to remain in Tucson for the Thanksgiving holiday to minimize exposure to the high-risk individuals in your household. 

If yes, and you are not planning to return to campus after Thanksgiving:

It is strongly encouraged that you follow a strict 10-day Stay-at-Home protocol once you arrive at your Thanksgiving destination. You should also consider taking a COVID-19 test, three to four days after travel.  

If yes:

It is recommended that you plan ahead and ensure you have the resources to minimize contact with others during the 10 days following your negative test result.

If no:

Consider remaining in Tucson during the Thanksgiving break, or identifying alternative arrangements that will allow you to carry out the Stay-at-Home protocol more strictly.

Stay-at-Home Protocol

The Stay-at-Home protocol requires you to only leave your residence to:

  • Attend classes and essential University activities
  • Go to work
  • Care for family members
  • Obtain food, medical care or medications
  • Engage in outdoor exercise or access the Student Recreation Center only when physical distancing is possible

If you, or someone you live with, has broken the Stay-at-Home protocol, it is critical that the you be re-tested 5-7 days after your last potential exposure to the virus.

Questions?

For medical questions, contact the Campus Health Nurse line at 520-621-6493

Please direct any non-medical questions to the student COVID Ambassador Team Hotline at 520-848-4045 or covidhelp@email.arizona.edu