Some out-of-state students aren’t going home for the holidays

Delon Elem, a student at FAMU and a native of Chicago, wants nothing to do with the automatic 14-day quarantine Illinois has imposed. Photo courtesy of Elem

This holiday season is unlike any we have witnessed. As college students edge toward the end of an unorthodox semester, an even more unusual decision on whether or not to go home has to be made.

Although Florida currently has no state-wide travel restrictions, states such as California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Ohio have a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine restriction in place, coupled with large fines for non-compliance.

Regardless of the restrictions, over the course of the Thanksgiving Day weekend, nearly 1.2 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints in the U.S., according to USA Today.

More than 1 million travelers also passed through checkpoints Friday, Sunday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, according to

The coronavirus has undoubtedly affected travel plans for all, but it has also continuously placed out-of-state students in a predicament of whether or not they can travel home and return without it being an  issue. Travel restrictions have forced many students to either spend the rest of the semester at home or avoid going home altogether.

According to, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced new guidelines on Nov. 4, allowing out-of-state travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory. Covered travelers must continue to fill out the “Traveler Health Form.”

Before the break, FAMU President Larry Robinson urged students to be safe during the holiday season.

According to, Robinson said, “It has been a long year, but the COVID-19 threat is still very much with us. We cannot afford to lower our guard. There are challenging days ahead; however, by working together we will continue our tradition of ‘Excellence with Caring.’”

As an alternative to the current public health concerns around air travel and avoiding possible mandatory quarantines, some out-of-state students who have decided to travel, went to places within the state or traveled to ones nearby.

FAMU student and Chicago native Delon Elem decided to travel to Atlanta, to spend the week there, quarantining with trusted family members to commemorate the holiday.

“I decided to go to Atlanta instead of going back home to Chicago for a couple of reasons, one it’s a little closer than Chicago, avoiding the 14-day quarantine since I have to work,” Elem said.“Two, I was able to spend time with my family I don’t generally get to see and spend the holidays with them in a small quarantine.”

Other out-of-state students were lucky enough to have a few family members fly in for the holiday break, and were willing to get tested for the coronavirus to ensure the safety of the students.