Coming Home: How COVID-19 Is Impeding on Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving has always been a time for family, friends and being together. In what is normally the busiest travel week of the year, students from all over the country travel home to ensure that they can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. 

However, coming home for Thanksgiving this year isn’t as simple as hopping on a plane, bus or train to arrive at home and hugging your family. This year students have to worry about accidentally getting family members sick and spreading the COVID-19 virus. 

Dr. Michael Lauzardo, director of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect answered students’ questions about COVID-19.  An unnamed student asks “Should I get tested before I go home for the holidays?”  Dr. Lauzardo responds, “It is a really good idea to get a test before you go home for the holidays.  It’s again, one more step that you can take to protect your loved ones when you go back home.”

Many students have decided to get COVID tested before they return home to minimize the risk as much as possible. Freshman Noami Weintraub noted, “Yes, I’m going home. I already got a COVID test a few days ago and tested negative.” Another UF student, Jordyn Adler, stated “I am going home, I’m getting tested before I leave and driving with a friend home but wearing a mask in the car.” 

Other students have also taken on extra precautions, being more careful to wear a mask and avoid crowds the week prior to their return home. UF computer science freshman, Shubhika Agarwal shared, “Yes, I am going home.  I have been socially distancing and wearing a mask.” 

Some students have even decided not to go home at all and remain on campus so that they don’t unintentionally expose their family members. 

Traveling home is not the only concern this Thanksgiving. Actual Thanksgiving celebrations will also look drastically different this year. While many students are accustomed to large Thanksgiving gatherings with numerous extended family members and friends, this year it is simply not possible. 

UF senior Anisha Patel disclosed, “Usually every year my parents have friends over, but since I live with my grandparents and my grandpa is high-risk, I think we will be staying with family.”

“Our Thanksgiving celebration will be different because we won’t be able to hug each other due to the fact that my brother and I don’t want to risk giving my parents COVID”, remarked Lily Kopacz.  Despite all the concerns and extra precautions necessary this Thanksgiving, there is still so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and so many safe ways to celebrate!  For a list of frequently asked questions regarding the UF Coronavirus response, visit the Screen, Test & Protect FAQ. Above all, have a safe Thanksgiving!