School nurse offers advice for international travelers

Quarantine should be observed when returning to the U.S.


Nick Bozzell-Levine

School nurse Mrs. Marianne Vogt ’86 provided her perspective on the school year.

Nick Bozzelli-Levine, Reporter

During spring break, which begins at the end of school on March 19 at 2:55 p.m., many, many Irish families will flock south to vacation at warm and pleasant places such as Florida and at other Gulf Coast locations, just as several families did last year at the beginning of the pandemic.

Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control, some may even choose to travel abroad, savoring the experience of a fresh culture and new perspectives. However, doing so comes with risks. According to school nurse Ms. Marianne Vogt ‘86, traveling internationally is a dangerous option and students should be very careful to avoid contracting the coronavirus and follow local guidelines to protect their friends and family upon return.

For students, the Hill’s procedure for international venturers is fairly simple. “When you travel internationally, you need to participate in a 10-day quarantine when you arrive back in Indiana,” Vogt said. “So you would have to go virtual.” The obvious benefit of this is to make sure that if students present symptoms they are confined and not infecting others.

If a family does opt to spend their break across borders or overseas, Vogt has some expert advice on picking the safest place to visit. “I think that I would look at the standards of the country,” she said. “Barbados, for instance, has really strict guidelines. When you get there you quarantine three days and get a Covid test. There’s some countries that are very careful. But places like Mexico are still having a Covid outbreak.”

She also suggested that another factor families should consider is what quality of health care they would get in that country should a sudden medical problem occur.

Additionally, once in a particular country, there are some good ways to keep oneself safe, according to Vogt. “I would not eat in restaurants. I would get carryout,” Vogt said. “If it can be delivered, that’s always a better option.” She also reiterated the obvious mantra everyone’s been hearing the past year, that while it may be uncomfortable and annoying to social distance, avoid crowds and wear proper facial protection, it is necessary to conquer the virus. “Wear your mask and wash your hands. It does work,” she said.

To summarize, it’s a good idea to avoid traveling abroad altogether. “International travel is always riskier, especially during a pandemic,” Vogt said. Perhaps as long as people follow the rules and avoid risky behaviors, students will be able to return to the Hill in April.  “Just have a safe spring break,” Vogt said.