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Local colleges and universities' on-campus semesters will end soon, but institutions are prepared for some students to stay behind to complete isolation or quarantine periods for infection or exposure to the coronavirus.

Someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus should stay at home and away from others for 10 days since their last symptom or positive test, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Quarantine is for someone who has been in close contact with someone who's sick and is supposed to last for 14 days from the last close contact with the sick person.

That means any student at Lincoln University in Jefferson City or State Technical College of Missouri in Linn who tested positive or started quarantine this week — or would do either of those things before Thanksgiving — would still be in isolation or quarantine after other students leave campus to finish their semesters remotely.

LU's last day for on-campus coursework is Friday.

"Students can and should finish their quarantine or isolation on campus. If they and their families opt for them to leave before that time, we ask that they do not use public transportation," LU spokeswoman Misty Nunn said.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, LU reported 14 students had tested positive and 37 students had quarantined — two more positives and two more in quarantine than the day before.

Four employees had tested positive, and four had quarantined — one less in quarantine than the day before.

State Tech spokesman Brandon McElwain said it's a case-by-case health department decision of where students should isolate or quarantine, but State Tech "would be willing and able to make sure they can finish out their quarantine, if need be."

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State Tech's last on-campus day of the semester is Nov. 25.

The school's dorms and apartments available for students will be available for as long as needed — even if a student had to start isolation or quarantine Wednesday, McElwain said.

State Tech reported there were 51 people last week who had been exposed to coronavirus on or off campus, and there were 32 active positive cases.

Those numbers have continued to grow in recent weeks, and last week's were the highest numbers yet for the college. The week before, there had been 32 people who had been exposed and 18 active positive cases. So far this week, seven students and one employee tested positive.

The latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report for Missouri recommended: "On university campuses, students are letting their guards down with Thanksgiving break less than a week away. Message to students to continue their mitigation actions on and off campus to protect others and themselves. If they are going home, they should follow CDC holiday guidelines for protective behaviors."

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