College students urged not to go home to prevent spread of COVID-19

Oct 2, 2020, 2:32 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Health officials are telling college students not to go home so they don’t inadvertently spread COVID-19 to family members. This comes as several colleges are moving classes online after coronavirus outbreaks on campus. 

One Utah family said this happened to them… twice. Brooke Shirley, a mother to two college students, said both of her kids came home for short visits — calling soon after they left that they had tested positive for COVID-19. 

It started with Shirley’s son, a student at Brigham Young University, who came home for Labor Day weekend. After returning to campus, he called his family to give them the news. 

“He called and said, ‘Mom, I can’t taste. I think I have coronavirus,'” Shirley recalled. 

Turns out, he did have it. Shirley and her family quarantined for two weeks, despite testing negative for the virus. 

But then it happened again. 

Shirley’s daughter, a student at Dixie State University, came home for “less than 24 hours” and exposed her family to the coronavirus for a second time. 

“The coronavirus was back in our house,” Shirley told KSL TV.

The college student was banished to the basement, where her family told her to stay until she recovered. 

“I felt so bad as a mom because I’m like, ‘You’re stuck. There’s nothing we can do for you but bring you food,'” Shirley said.

Again, the rest of her family tested negative for the virus. But they quarantined a second time to be safe. 

“I was so nervous that I had given it to people because I didn’t know,” Shirley said. 

Shirley said neither of her kids showed symptoms of COVID-19 before coming home. 

“Moral of the story is, if you have college kids and you want them to come home, you’ve got to really, really think about it,” Shirley said. “They unknowingly could be carrying this virus. Like my kids had no idea.”

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College students urged not to go home to prevent spread of COVID-19