How to safely travel to college campuses for move-in day

How to safely travel to college campuses for move-in day

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  • The novel coronavirus has interrupted education on a wide scale with many schools still deciding if they will hold classes on campus this fall or go virtual.
  • Traveling to colleges and moving into dorms will likely pose extra challenges in the COVID-19 era for students and their parents accompanying them for the big move. 
  • We talked to an infectious disease expert to learn about the risks and get tips on proper precautions that parents and students should take.
  • Read more: The best college supplies and dorm room essentials

As the novel coronavirus continues to sweep the nation, it has upended daily norms. People are making big changes when it comes to how they work, shop, eat and drink, and even vacation.

Another major field that’s been disrupted is education. Many schools across the country cut the end of the school year short and headed online, as e-learning saw a surge in popularity.

Now, with the back-to-school season around the corner, schools are once again grappling with the decision of in-person classes, online lessons, or a mix of both. That goes for colleges, too. 

Some colleges and universities have gone virtual, while others are welcoming students and teachers back to campus. Moving day, usually a beloved tradition filled with teary-eyed parents seeing off starry-eyed students, comes with a lot of questions this year when it comes to safety, as it often involves some degree of travel. Is it safe for parents to pack up the car and help move their student into the dorms? Where should they stay? 

The good news is that, according to Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo, the answers to these questions are largely encouraging — but with some big caveats.

“I think it’s okay for parents to help their children move into dorms,” says Dr. Russo. “But obviously the devil is in the details in terms of how the school has it set up in terms of opening day.”

And if you’ll be traveling from far away, there are additional factors to consider, too. “The travel part is something you should always think about during this age of COVID,” cautions Dr. Russo.

After all, there is no guarantee of safety when it comes to travel right now, but there are some precautions you can take to help make traveling to college and facing move-in day safer. Call the school or check their website ahead of time to find out exactly how move-in day will work and what precautions are being taken, before deciding if your family feels comfortable traveling.

If you decide to travel, here’s what the doctor says you should know. And if you do find yourself heading to a college town in the US, we rounded up top-rated private vacation rentals for several popular locations, which, Dr. Russo says is a safer place to stay compared to hotels, because you are booking an entire home protected from interaction with others.

Top tips include:

Read on for a full breakdown of safety tips and precautions to take when traveling to college campuses for move-in day, plus where to stay in top college towns.


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