Students flying home for holidays wary of COVID-19 exposure

A man checks the planes timetable at the Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers as some domestic flights resume, Sunday, Dec.6, 2020. (AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)

BYU students face many decisions on if and how they will return home for the holidays as Fall Semester comes to a close.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting non-essential travel as much as possible, but there are currently no travel restrictions for the state of Utah, nor are visitors or those returning to Utah required to quarantine upon arrival in the state.

For those flying through the Salt Lake International Airport, masks are required at all times in the premises, including on flights. Additionally, only those with a ticket or authorization are allowed in public spaces of the airport. For lounge areas, physically distanced seating will be enforced.

BYU student Megan Alder is flying to Texas to visit her extended family, and she too isn’t worried about COVID-19 as long as everyone is being safe.

Jenica Barker, another student who went home for Thanksgiving, took extra care before flying home.

“When I left, the airport was pretty empty compared to regular days,” she said, adding that she reserved a seat that she made certain was by itself in its row. She also said everyone on her flight complied with the required mask rule.

Before going home, Barker limited her exposure to the virus by only leaving her apartment when absolutely necessary for two weeks because she was worried about exposing her family to sickness. She plans to stay in her hometown of Chicago until January when classes start up again.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking to travel right now. Until the pandemic has passed, or until vaccinations are widely available, I don’t think that leisure or vacation traveling should be encouraged,” Barker said.

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