Families adjust holiday plans with college-aged students as pandemic continues


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – “If we were in March right now and you were to tell me I wouldn’t have believed that we would be where we are now. I would have been like there’s no way,” said Thompson Schollaert.

He and his sister, Caroline, were both required by their universities to be tested before coming home to Raleigh for the holidays.

“I think it’s good because it ensures that we are back to our families safely. I think it lowers the risk of spreading it to people at home who are high risk” said Caroline Schollaert.

Caroline Schollaert is a freshman at Elon University and Thompson Schollaert is a junior at the University of the South, better known as Sewanee.

As his soccer play has been on hiatus, Thompson said he’s been tested for COVID-19 at least 13 times this semester.

He said if you didn’t show up for your university required testing appointment, which is every two weeks, you’d be sent home.

“Us getting tested as often as we did allowed us to do a lot more and to have that peace of mind that we’re on campus. I mean we had single-digit cases the entire year so that piece of mind week in week out there really was no real threat to the students,” he said.

On Friday afternoon, Elon University’s dashboard said they’ve had 788 cases, including students and staff, since mid-August and 41 cases in the last two weeks.

“We’ve basically just been doing random testing but it’s targeted at certain groups on campus. So if you live in a dorm that has a cluster, then you’re more likely to get tested but if you live in a dorm that has no COVID cases, it means that you’re less likely to get tested,” said Caroline Schollaert.

The siblings won’t go back until after the New Year as campuses across the country have modified their semesters due to the pandemic.

In that time, it’s possible that the distribution of at least one COVID-19 vaccine may begin.

But, neither see that as a game-changer in their day-to-day lives for some time.

“Projecting even where we could be in late January or early February, even with a vaccine, I mean it’s super hard to predict. I think we will end up going back but who knows what it’s going to be like” said Thompson Schollaert.

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