With Thanksgiving approaching, many students feel worried about traveling, yet plan to go home for the holidays. Oregon State University is planning to have COVID-19 testing available for those that need it.
OSU ensures that precautions will be taken; Dan Larson, vice provost for student affairs, said the university is “planning to have testing available for students who are traveling to other communities for the Thanksgiving holiday. More information will be provided to students in the coming days.”
“I recommend that people follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when traveling,” Larson said.
For Temuera Margotfumiko Queypo, a student at OSU, this was the first opportunity to go back home for Thanksgiving in two years. “It would only be a short break before finals and being from Oahu, Hawaii, it was never in my best interest to go home for only a short period of time,” Queypo said.
Thanksgiving break usually only lasts a few days. But now with remote learning, college students saw an opportunity to stay home a little longer, as they can complete assignments and exams from any location.
“I was a bit hesitant to travel, especially flying and having to go through major international airports, but I have traveled during COVID before,” Queypo said. “Although it can be scary, I know that I will do what I can to be safe and keep those around me safe, as well as by taking many safety precautions.”
Marvel Ruth Ravel Luzell, a student in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, felt as if the pandemic is also bringing consequences to mental health. “I think that an important part of telling people to ‘stay healthy’ also means to take care of your psychological health, and I miss my family very much, so I am taking provisions to go spend time with them.”
Students are left with a difficult decision, as their desire to improve their mental health may have ramifications for theirs and other people’s physical health.
“If I could recommend ways to stay safe this holiday season, it would obviously be to not travel at all,” Luzell said. “Unfortunately, this will not happen, and I am straying from my own advice already. I would advise staying home as long as possible to avoid excessive travel or being around other travelers.”
“My grandmother is staying with my family currently, so I am extra worried coming from a college town, especially where cases have been increasing. I will probably only spend the most minimal amount of time home as possible,” Luzell said. “It is easy to think that it won't be that bad if I go, but then I remember that many people will be going home and we are all playing a part in this.”
Millions of Americans are weighing the risks of traveling during a pandemic, and the desire to visit friends and family. According to statistics by the New York Times, there have been around 252,000 COVID-19 cases in college campuses nationwide; meanwhile, college students still seem eager to return home.
“With the flexibility of this term and having everything be remote and online, I now had the option to spend Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in years,” Queypo said.