College students worry about possibly exposing family to COVID-19 during holidays

Watch: College students worry about possibly exposing family to COVID-19 during holidays

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Coming home for the holidays is complicated in 2020, especially for college students like Zach Seay.

The Missouri sophomore now must weigh the risk of possibly exposing older and vulnerable family members.

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“I want to be with my family but I’d rather be with them and not risk their health,” said Seay.

LSU freshman Sophie Jones felt she did her part to ensure a safe return to Memphis.

“I do feel comfortable yes because I have been getting tested frequently and I just got tested actually yesterday,” Jones said. “So I’m waiting for my results to come back.”

Jackson State senior Lashoundra Ward said her family supports her coming home.

“No, they haven’t really had any concerns,” Ward said. “I really don’t go anywhere here. So I’m pretty much in my room. And when I do go out I make sure I have my mask. My sanitizer.”

Jones said despite feeling comfortable, this doesn’t mean there aren’t some concerns.

“It’s definitely a concern,” Jones said. “That’s why I’m doing my best to try and make sure until I get my test results back, that I’m not going out in large gatherings. I’m isolating as much as I can. Really only going out of the dorm room for food.”

Ward believed going home is needed.

“Being at school, it’s a little frustrating,” she says. “So coming home is more of a release I don’t have to do any homework. I’m free from studying. So it’s kind of a stress reliever just to spend time with my family.”

Seay understood the pull of home during this time but still felt the danger outweighed the reward.

“I understand wanting to go home,” Seay explained. “I don’t want to say that I’m not going to hold it against them because I understand they’re probably doing something dangerous. But I understand the desire.”

Seay said this Thanksgiving will be tough without family. This is a reality many of us will face over the next couple of months.

“I want to just do the right thing but now that I think about it more I’m really going to miss my family,” Seay said. “I’ve never not spent Thanksgiving with my family.”