Thanksgiving Break Traditions Return to Normal

By, Josh Grewal & Kelly Kennedy, Staff Writer & Asst. Social Media Editor

As we approach the first Thanksgiving with less restrictions that students will be experiencing since the pandemic started, different procedures and precautions will be put in motion at the college during break to ensure students and workers can safely return home for the holiday.

Provost Steven Schreiner, Ph.D., states that this break is going to be more similar to years past. There are still many precautions to keep campus safe, but once again students will have a three-day break and return to campus for the last few weeks and for finals before winter break. This contrasts to last year, where after Thanksgiving break the rest of the semester and finals were all conducted virtually and campus itself was closed.

“Well, first thing is we all need a break. So I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. And it’s been a long semester, even though COVID is less, you know, of our day-to-day routine. Now, as it was last fall, a lot of good work is going on. And, in my personal opinion it’s a wonderful tradition and I just hope everyone goes home. Relax, take a deep breath, go back and get refreshed, because you only have two more weeks until finals,” Schreiner said.

This year is also much different from the previous one, as COVID-19 precautions are much different than last year’s mid-pandemic.

“We’re in class, the social distancing isn’t you know, isn’t being enforced in the same way it was before. Of course, if you can social distance, you should but it all sort of becomes guidelines versus this sort of concern. We are highly vaccinated. We are vaccinating and getting more and more immune,” Schreiner said.

With student and faculty vaccination rates being above average and weekly testing for the unvaccinated population, the college is confident that Thanksgiving break will be safe for all.

“Bottom line is this, this fall, we have the vaccine, we have a much better understanding of this pandemic. It is not spreading and raging outside of our campus like it was last year. And so we feel very comfortable that we can go have a Thanksgiving break and come back,” Schreiner said.

The Thanksgiving break seems to be something that students and faculty are excited for. As COVID-19 precautions change, many can safely celebrate with family and friends. Although, as we have seen in previous years, there is a small group of students who do choose to stay on campus. Going home is not as easy for students who live internationally or out of state.

Isabella Derr is a sophomore majoring in international studies and peace studies, originally from Portland, OR. Derr contemplated staying on-campus for the short break, but ultimately decided to go home to visit her family.

“I was originally going to stay on campus, but I miss my family and wanted to see my Nana,” Derr said. “So now I will be flying home and staying from Wednesday to Saturday. It’s not too hard for me to book a flight, but the eight-hour commute is pretty tough.”

Natalia Ortiz is a junior majoring in communication who also has a long trip ahead of her. As an international student originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, she has also decided to go home for the upcoming break.

“I do not have any concerns because I am vaccinated, and for people to travel on the airline you must be either vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test,” Ortiz said. “In Puerto Rico you must be vaccinated to enter any social setting, like shopping malls and restaurants, and you must wear a mask indoors. Most people on the island are vaccinated so masks aren’t required in open spaces, so for the most part I feel very safe going home.”

Students traveling within the United States won’t have too many restrictions regarding their travel, although international students traveling from their respective country may have a harder time due to the rules they must follow in that specific country. For many it may prove easier to stay on-campus for the short break, but Schreiner encourages all students to go home and spend time with family and loved ones if they can while carefully and safely staying within regulations.

“From whatever state authority, it could be the federal government as well,” Schreiner said. “There will be things that have to be done to go home. And, also things to come back. I encourage any international student to look very carefully at those rules so that they don’t end up in a situation where they can’t get back here and start the semester on time, or for some reason put their visa in jeopardy because they should know all the details of how they’re going to go and come back so that we can have them safely back for the spring term.”

With the return of a normal Thanksgiving break, it is hopeful that many of the restrictions due to the pandemic are almost over.