College kids and returning home

Dweezil’s college, like many others, tweaked their schedule so everyone would be done by Thanksgiving. Some kids might need to go back after that for finals (not sure whether this applies to Dweezil or not).

He comes home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. All students need to be out of the dorms / apartments by 6 PM that day though I suspect he’ll be here sooner since his one class lets out noonish.

I asked him to look into “exit testing” - which is something a lot of colleges are doing. Now, his school is smaller than many - about 5800 students overall - and they’ve only had 100 confirmed cases all semester; he lives in an apartment with his own bedroom (though, shared bathroom and kitchen). Supposedly kids are being careful; the campus has a mask mandate, and he only has 3 classes, so his risk of exposure is lower than many.

Still, I’d feel better if he got tested. Dunno how long it would take to get results.

We’re modifying our Thanksgiving routine somewhat: scaling down on the number of dishes, leaning toward more “do in advance” so there’s less kitchen crowding, and similar stuff - and Dweezil will be STRONGLY encouraged to stay in his room except for the actual meal. He’s a bit antisocial so this won’t be a huge issue, LOL.

Anyone else with a kid heading home soon? What if anything are you doing about it?

Telling your adult son to stay in his own room seems a tad excessive, doesn’t it?

Why would it be excessive? Quarantining at home after a potential exposure is a common recommendation these days.

From here: “The safest thing to do is go home two weeks before Thanksgiving, which we’re almost at, hang out there for two weeks and then come out of your quarantine.”

A little googling will turn up numerous stories of students who have opted not to return home at all, due to the risks of bringing COVID home to the family. This isn’t an option for my son, as all campus housing is shutting down as of Tuesday evening (not sure what would happen if he had a known exposure or positive test).

Not at all. It’s what is needed.

No, it doesn’t seem excessive to me. Why do you think it seems excessive?

Re “excessive”: as noted, this is not unreasonable given that no matter how careful he has been, he HAS been around a lot of other people, and we don’t know how THEY were behaving. College students by their very natures tend to make poor choices, at least some of the time. Being young and healthy, he’d likely be one of the ones who barely noticed it - but everyone else in the household is old enough and/or has enough comorbidities that we’d all be at risk.

Example of excess: I travelled to Vermont last month to check up on my daughter. I self-quarantined at home for most of 2 weeks before per Vermont regulations, so that I wouldn’t have to quarantine while there. We both masked whenever we went out. I drove, vs taking any kind of public transportation (VT requirement; if I’d flown I’d have been required to quarantine while there). Basic common-sense stuff.

But when I got home, I self-isolated for 10 days in a guest bedroom. Separate bathroom. Masked if I left the room except for quick bathroom dashes. Meals in a separate room from the family. Family wore masks when in the same room (and those encounters were minimized). I actually asked my doctor after a few days if this was overkill and she thought we were taking things a bit more extremely than necessary - and we probably were, but it made the rest of the household feel better.

So: encouraging the kid (“kid”… he’s 26!!) to minimize time with the family is not out of line - and it suits his inclination anyway, as when he’s here he usually only emerges for meals.

Back to the original topic: are others in the same boat here? And what precautions are you taking?

We may have guests on Thanksgiving itself. We always issue a broad “if you don’t have anyplace better to go, come here” invitation but this year we are not doing that; we restricted it to those people who’ve been coming for years. as they are all people we know to be careful. One regular is not coming - she just doesn’t feel comfortable, and as she said, she’s dealing with a lot of doctor’s appointments this week and next and worries she’ll get exposed there. Another family is on the fence.

He’s a resident. Attempting to confine him to one room, in his own home, IS excessive, IMO.

You may want to reconsider this. I admire your openness, but unless you live in a climate and have a backyard that makes a socially-distanced outdoor meal feasible, this is going to be quite risky.

Quarantine isn’t punishment.

Where did I use the word punishment?

Right. We’re not punishing the kid. He’s not going to be locked in his room. We’re protecting the whole household by encouraging some social distancing, and we won’t be nagging him to come out of his room. Basically we’ll be letting him do what he’s inclined to do anyway (AND, he gets out of helping with the dishes!!).

Plus: imagine how he’d feel if he DID have COVID… and gave it to the rest of the household. If you were in those shoes, how would you feel if you made everyone sick?

Re the open Thanksgiving: We’re cautious about it - and have only let specific people - guests who come every year, whom we know to be responsible know the door is still open. They all know the potential attendees. Our usual attitude of “come - and bring a friend!” is not happening. We are asking them to use their best judgment as to whether to come. I’d trust them more than I’d trust my own family. Masks will be worn except when eating, and nobody is going to be sitting close to anyone else.

I think you are making reasonable precautions. Hopefully kid can get tested asap so quarantine will be less neccessary.

Except it’s not. It’s a reasonable precaution that everyone should take when exposing a household to risk.

The Governor of Colorado said it well:

“For families who do want to get together and that’s something you want to enjoy,” he said, “the more family members who make the decision to self-quarantine, the more likely it is that you’re not bringing a loaded pistol to Grandma’s head.”

I have a cousin who went home for the holidays. He booked a hotel room until he gets cleared because he doesn’t want to kill his mother. Such a good boy.

Mistermage will be picking our daughter up on Fri. evening. She’s been pretty much staying in her dorm room as has her room mate. All of her classes have been online. Other than getting food, whether from ubereats or the cafeteria, doing laundry or using the bathroom/showers, she stays in her room.

When she gets home she’ll do the same thing. I’m thinking of having Mistermage put one of our mini-fridges in her room so she can keep snacks handy (she loves her veggies). Maybe even bringing home her dorm microwave for use in her room.

I’m not too worried about her bringing home the 'Rona … I’m more worried about her catching it when Mistermage eventually brings it home (essential worker and grocery shopper).

It seems a little odd to me that you would be extra careful with your son yet still take the risk of having guests over. To avoid your son feeling like he’s being singled out over your guests, you may want to reconsider this.

As for the dinner, one way to make things safer is to create an environment where the air is replaced on a regular basis. Perhaps have dinner in front of a roaring fire which will draw fresh air into the room and up the chimney. Or have a few windows cracked in the room and turn the heat on high. This will help dissipate any viral particles which may be in the air.

This was my thought as well. My mother lives with us, and she has only been visiting with friends that she has known for multiple decades, that are well educated, non-Covid deniers. And yet I know those friends have been visiting their kids (adults my age) and the grandkids. And the grandkids have been going to school and so on and so on. So my bubble has gone from the 3 of us that live in this house to all of the school mates of her friends’ grandkids and beyond! (said in my best Buzz Lightyear voice).

Your son’s one class worth of exposure seems to me (a total stranger) to be on par with assuming that your friends haven’t been taking any risks.

So - nobody’s died (or gotten sick) yet. Well, nobody here. and our guest hasn’t told us anything different.

Dweezil’s inclination is to stay in his room all the time anyway. So we didn’t even suggest he do so. We have all made a point of all wearing masks when “out and about”, i.e. not in our bedrooms / work spaces, and not actually eating. Just common sense to reduce the risk for a few more days.

The only potential guests were people we a) trusted to keep very isolated in general, and b) if they were not doing that, that we trusted to decline the invitation. There was full disclosure in all cases (the one guest who did come knew exactly who’d be there and I suspect would have declined had we been foolish enough to invite a crowd). It was not risk-free, but the dangers were mitigated by open windows, well-spaced seating (while at the table), and keeping our distance when not actually at the table - as well as mask-wearing when we weren’t actively eating.

I admit I’m looking forward to a week or so from now, when we’ll have Dweezil chip in on dish duty!!

We asked our guest to snap a photo of us household members, all masked. I posted that on Facebook and my covidiot second cousin in Australia spewed some malarkey (and it went downhill from there. Hint: “herd immunity” ain’t gonna happen when you’re as locked down as Australia was, and I’d prefer not to die as part of America’s disastrous ongoing herd-immunity experiment).