On Nov. 20, Millersville students still residing on campus will be moving back home until next semester. Then again, it’s currently a mystery if any students will be moving into dorms come Jan. 25. Recently, Pa. universities, such as Lebanon Valley College, have sent students home even earlier than planned due to rising Covid-19 cases. Whatever occurs, however, students will be home for, at minimum, a long winter recess. With this recess, many students are wondering how to balance safety during the pandemic while still upholding holiday season traditions.
Indeed, the holiday season is practically upon us: Next week, we have both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. December holidays then come right after, ending with New Years Eve capping off this wretched year of 2020. Like many others, I was too stressed and distracted to realize the year’s grand finale of celebrations was so close. Even after this realization, the harsh reality of Pa.’s sharply rising Covid numbers unfortunately limited my enthusiasm.
Many families will possibly be holding their gatherings through Zoom meetings. I suppose this will especially be the case for larger families who host members in one house for a week. Personally, my family has always had small gatherings, along with everyone being within very reasonable driving distance of each other. Some members of my family are elderly, so Zoom Christmas could sadly still be the case for my holiday season.
While some may enjoy the limitation of family time, I always love touching base with loved ones during the holidays. The appreciation of family became even stronger during college, as I realized being an adult means less freedom to see relatives due to other commitments. One aspect of the season I never look forward to is the shopping. I remember last year having to drive the day prior to Christmas eve to help a loved one pick up gifts. As someone who hates being late and/or waiting last minute, the crowds of shoppers gives me high levels of anxiety.
Sadly, if stores hold shopping events during the pandemic, these crowds could be catastrophic. Could you imagine the number of cases if a virus carrier decides to shop in a packed retail store? I see no sale on a popular item during Black Friday worth the danger of you and/or your family getting sick. If one does decide to shop in-person during this season, just be sure to wear the mask. Yes, we’re all sick of wearing a mask, but, at the very least, just wear one to respect the store policies without causing even more stress for retail workers.
While my tone may not be of jollity, I do wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Fellow students and their families deserve a long break after a semester of stressful online and limited in-person courses. Just monitor your family’s health and local area’s Covid levels, as it’ll aid in deciding the appropriate method of celebrations this year. Personally, the best gift I could receive this year is a proper Covid vaccine, ensuring a return to normal campus life. Unfortunately, like our holiday shopping, we may be holding classes online for even longer.