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Many Vermont college students allowed to leave early for Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:21 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 4:10 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Many colleges statewide are allowing students to go home for Thanksgiving early as coronavirus cases rise.

The University of Vermont has announced it is giving students permission to leave campus and head home more than a week before the scheduled start of the holiday break.

Some students tell me they are taking advantage of that.

“I think being home with my own family, it’s more predictable so I feel safer there almost. I trust my roommate and I feel safe with my roommates but there is the aspect that there are a lot of college kids in this town,” said Kay Noterin, a student at UVM.

“Only going to class for three days doesn’t seem really worth it to put the risk out for other people. I can just go home and take a few days online, it’s not a big inconvenience for me,” said Adam Lyon, a UVM student.

But others want to stay as long as possible, saying that even though Vermont has a rising number of COVID-19 cases, it still feels safer than their home state.

“For me, I don’t think that’s going to change my plans because I wanted to stay here for as long as I can,” UVM Student Andrew Lourin said.

Other schools, like Champlain College and the Vermont State Colleges System, have also given students permission to leave campus and head home more than a week before the scheduled start of the holiday break.

“I’m honestly kind of vibing with staying here a little longer,” said Chloe Thenor, a Champlain College student.

“I’m going to stay for the full two weeks,” said Justin Willis, a student at Champlain College.

The early dismissal shouldn’t have an impact on learning.

Schools like St. Michael’s College have already transitioned to full remote learning for the rest of the year due to coronavirus concerns.

School officials say statewide there shouldn’t be an impact as most classes were already online or were slated to begin fully remote instruction next week. Students won’t be back on campus until after the new year.

Officials at UVM say the ability to send students home early was for the best interest of the students.

“We just wanted to give flexibility to students. We know that can be a source of anxiety and certainly being home over the Thanksgiving holiday may bring many a sense of support,” said Annie Stevens, the vice provost of student affairs at UVM.

At UVM, students are urged to get a COVID-19 test 48 hours before they leave so they can get their results.

The plan is to have the same onboarding process for the spring that they say worked in the fall, with classes starting in February.

“It’s just a matter of making sure everybody is safe,” Stevens said.

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