A COVID Thanksgiving

Blythe Wallick '21, Staff Writer

This Thanksgiving was one like never before. While Americans today are used to traditions of travel, sharing food, or gathering close together, the Center for Disease Control warned people to postpone their usual festivities. The CDC told the public, “Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.” If one was to see relatives or friends who do not live in one’s household, the CDC recommended that everyone wear a 2-ply mask, stay 6 feet apart, bring their own food and cutlery, and that the gathering should occur outdoors. Fortunately, many millions of people followed these guidelines, however disappointing or lonely they may have felt.

On the other hand, many millions of people decided to disregard these recommendations. The Transportation Safety Administration reported data showing that in the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving, 800,000 to one million people went through T.S.A. checkpoints. Although this data shows far fewer people traveling compared to the year before, it was still a much larger figure than experts and epidemiologists would have accepted. The CDC reported that as of November alone, the United States has had over 4.1 million new covid cases, and over 25,000 deaths. 

Lucy Taylor, 21, shared what she did for Thanksgiving this year. “My family and I always love Thanksgiving. Personally, it’s my favorite holiday. I love to cook for my family, and I really miss when we could all gather around the table and catch up with each other. This year, my family and I opted to host thanksgiving outside. We each brought our own food, stayed 6 feet apart, and sat outside. We were fortunate to be able to see family safely this year.”

Kira Agne, ‘23, stayed home with her immediate family this year. Her family had plans to take a trip to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, they decided to postpone their vacation until the CDC guidelines said it was safe for them to travel. “I was really disappointed to have heard the news that we couldn’t go to St. John,” she said. “We booked our trip a year in advance, so at the time we had no idea this pandemic was coming. Of course, though, my family and I were happy to stay home and stay safe. The last thing we would want to do is to add to the rising number of cases. Instead of our previous plans, I spent Thanksgiving with my parents and my sisters safely at home. We did get to zoom with our extended family, though, which was pretty cool!” 

The common sentiment seems to be that 2020’s Thanksgiving festivities were unlike anything the students or faculty had ever seen before. Mary Robertson, art department, said “We all went and got covid tests. My niece was flying back home to Singapore, and we were all hoping she could finally get home after leaving last March. We had a meal from South East Kitchen on Thanksgiving, and then celebrated on Saturday when we all got our negative covid tests back.” Although this year looks different from every other in our lifetime, it’s clear that WFS community members are staying conscious and safe this holiday season.