SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– This week, many college students are returning home or traveling for the holidays.

While being able to meet with families this year is important and exciting, there are precautions they should take when celebrating and returning back to campus.

College students are preparing for their Thanksgiving breaks this week. Last year, they did not return in-person until the start of the next semester, but this year, things are returning back to normal and final exams will take place in the classroom.

“I think individuals just appreciate that opportunity to move about life in a more normal capacity and we are very fortunate and happy that we are able to do so here at Northern State,” said Justin Fraase, Vice President of Enrollment, Communications and Marketing at NSU.

But, with the pandemic still going, it’s important for college students to follow safety precautions during and after their break to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.

“Just being wise and using you know good judgment of what you would do because what you don’t want to do as a younger person. college age, where you’re most likely overall healthy is you know expose someone who maybe could not handle COVID-19,” said Kevin Post, Chief Medical Officer of Avera Medical Group.

Post believes that returning to campus after Thanksgiving break is also important for students.

“I think we lost something last year with everything being virtual. I think it was the right decision at the time for what we were in, but we are now further along in the pandemic, I think we’ve learned more,” said Post.

Spending time with families helps relieve some of the stress of college.

“What we’ve been through the past two years has caused a significant increase in rates of depression, anxiety and addictions and a lot of it is because we weren’t able to depend on those core resources which is often our family, our friends and our faith,” said Post. “So I think getting back together with those that we love, those that mean a lot to us is going to be very important so that we can feel supported and move together as communities and as individuals.”

Northern state wants to remind anyone, especially facility, staff and students, that there are resources out there for dealing with mental health during the pandemic, including on campus counseling centers and the 2-1-1 helpline.