Student message on Thanksgiving travel

-October 21, 2020-

Dear IHP Students:

As a community, we have demonstrated our personal and professional responsibility through our attestation to the Institute’s Commit @ IHP policy. The ongoing COVID pandemic requires us all to be vigilant and make healthy and safe decisions in our daily lives. Together, this is how we can contribute toward achieving a lower COVID positivity rate, which unfortunately has continued to increase over the last two months in Massachusetts and across the country. As you begin to consider your plans to see family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, we ask that you do so in light of your Commit @ IHP pledge, as well as the requirements detailed in the Massachusetts Travel Order.

The Institute and MGH Occupational Health Services are coordinating resources that are available to students to support your return to campus or clinical sites after the holiday. Please complete the survey at the link below by October 25 if you are traveling to a “higher-risk” state during the holiday and will be returning to campus or a clinical site. In addition to helping the Institute determine the volume of students traveling during the holiday, survey participants will also receive guidance on how to be cleared by MGH Occupational Health Services when returning from a “higher-risk” state.

If your Thanksgiving plans require that you travel outside of Massachusetts, you must consider the requirements to return from your trip. The Massachusetts Travel Order identifies states as “lower-risk” or “higher-risk.” The list of lower-risk states changes with very short notice. Today, there are only nine states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia designated as lower-risk. You can travel freely to and from these lower-risk states without any requirements to return. You should also review the travel requirements of the state you will be entering as these differ by state.

If you travel to a “higher-risk” state, you must complete the Mass. Travel Form and do one of the following when returning to Massachusetts:

  • Quarantine for 14 days, or
  • Be tested no longer than 72 hours prior to reentering the state.
    • If you receive a negative test result before entering, you can return and not quarantine.
    • If you do not receive the test result, you can enter the state and quarantine until you receive a negative result, or
  • Enter the state, quarantine, and schedule a test.
    • Once you receive a negative test result, you can end quarantine.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires a negative result from an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

Practically speaking, what does this mean for you? You must consider the above requirements when making your Thanksgiving travel plans. For example, if you travel to a higher-risk state and are required to be on campus or at a clinical site by 8:00 a.m. on Monday, November 30, you must be tested no earlier than 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 27 to meet the 72-hour time requirement. You must also consider the amount of time it takes to get your test results back. Your test result must be negative before arriving on campus or at a clinical site.

As members of the IHP community and future health care professionals, we must understand that the decisions that we make have consequences. The decisions of one member of our community can dramatically affect the greater IHP Community. To that end, we are grateful for your commitment to doing everything possible in order to maintain a safe environment for the entire IHP Community.

Paula Milone-Nuzzo
President and John Hilton Knowles Professor

Denis Stratford
Chief Operating Officer

IHP Communications

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