MANHATTAN, Kan (KSNT) – With Thanksgiving a few short weeks away, the Kansas State medical director is urging students to use caution when returning home.

Students are being warned they can easily bring the virus back to their families, or contract it by going home, according to Dr. Kyle Goerl, Medical Director at Kansas State Universities Lafene Health Center.

“There’s a significant amount of virus across the state right now both in our own community and in rural parts of – well just about anywhere,” Goerl said.

Coronavirus cases have been climbing across Kansas, and state health officials are starting to raise concerns as beds fill up in major regional hospitals across the state. This brings up major concerns for rural hospitals, who rely on major hospital systems in cities like Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City to transfer patients to.

Before students head home, Goerl encourages everyone to be cautious, lessen community interaction and take preventative steps to protect themselves and their families.

“Almost a pseudo-quarantine before you go back,” Goerl said. “Wear your mask, distance, continue hand hygiene and then if you can get in and get tested we would love for that to happen if you can ahead of you leaving.”

With cases rising, Goerl along with health officials across Kansas are beginning to express concern on what the weeks and months ahead could look like.

“I want to be very clear; we are entering a very challenging time frame in this pandemic,” Goerl said. “Unfortunately, we are well on our way into a third wave, this third wave looks like it’s going to probably make the first two very benign comparatively and this is going to be a very challenging time for our state and really our country,” Dr. Goerl said.

K-State is also encouraging students to participate in voluntary asymptomatic testing. Students can make appointments to be tested through their “MyLafene” patient portals.

K-State will conclude in-person instruction on November 20. Starting November 30, all classes will be online and the university will return to hybrid learning on December 21. You can view guidance released by K-State by clicking here.