Thanksgiving is a holiday with a contentious history. Yet there is no doubt the annual celebration includes turkey and pumpkin pie. While the typical aftereffects include food comas and bloating, this year is anything but average. On November 19th, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released suggestions for celebrating Thanksgiving safely during the pandemic because “traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19.” However, whether or not families across the country followed the CDC’s suggestions were out of the organization’s control.
According to a survey sent out on my Instagram, out of 39 Wesleyan students, 29 of them (76 percent) said their family participated in the holiday. Despite this number, the vast majority (89 percent or 31 students) reported that only immediate family was a part of their festivities. That left only four students (for 11 percent) who invited extended family and friends to their celebrations.
Most importantly, 17 students (or 63 percent) followed CDC guidelines. The remaining ten people (37 percent) reported they did not follow CDC guidelines. However, many students explained there was no need for social distance or a mask in their house. For example, Jacqui Ortega stated, “It was just my parents and brothers. We all live together, so we didn’t wear masks.” This sentiment was echoed by students like Rylee Hawk, who noted, “We all live together, so at home, we didn’t wear masks, but when we bought groceries, we did.”
One student, Olivia Sis, wanted to express her gratitude for extended family on Thanksgiving, but she knew this would look atypical. Sis explained, “Rather than dine in person with extended family, we took plates for my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and great-grandma. It was a nice way for us to remind our family members that we’re thinking of them and finding new ways to celebrate the holiday season in the midst of a pandemic.”
Overall, Wesleyan students are maintaining healthy procedures while on holiday break. Hopefully, this allows students to return to campus for the spring semester on time.