Students plan for time with family as COVID concerns subside

In Pennsylvania, there have been approximately 10,000 COVID-19 cases between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, compared to almost 40,000 cases during the same week last year.

Senior film and media arts major Chris Kennedy plans on splitting his break between working in production and spending time with his family. EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Although Leah Graham plans to stay in Philadelphia and work at her job on campus during fall break, she is excited to have time off from school.

“I’m really looking forward to having time to myself and being able just to knit and relax and then work on some future planning stuff and just feel, you know, organized,” said Graham, a senior biology major.

Temple’s fall break begins Monday and runs until Nov. 27 and students are excited for the chance to forget about their busy schedules and visit their families, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic has separated people during the holidays in recent years. 

Last year, students were eager to return to their typical Thanksgiving plans, but increased COVID-19 cases — which continued throughout the holiday season — caused many to put their plans on hold.

Zoe Gill, a freshman health professions major, is excited to have a break from her busy coursework next week.

“I’m honestly looking forward to forgetting about school and relaxing because this semester has been really hard, so I’ll have time to debrief,” Gill said.

Gill plans on staying home and celebrating Thanksgiving with her family, which she has not done regularly since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“It was hard for us to get together because we were separated, but now that COVID is kind of dying down we can now come back together to celebrate how we usually do,” Gill said.

In Pennsylvania, there were approximately 10,000 new COVID-19 cases between Nov. 9 and 16, compared to almost 40,000 cases during the same week last year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends that people get up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and consider testing before and after traveling, especially if their plans involve close contact. 

Students are encouraged to test for COVID-19 before gathering for Thanksgiving and returning to campus, wrote Mark Denys, senior director of student health services, in a Nov. 15 announcement to the Temple community. The university also has tests available for pickup at multiple locations across campus.

Jorelys Cintron, a freshman legal studies major, also plans to return to her tradition of large family gatherings after being unable to because of the pandemic.

“I think like right now, it’s been like two years so it’s kind of going back to normal but like in the past we would just like stay by ourselves,” Cintron said.

Chris Kennedy’s family is adjusting their plans to avoid contracting COVID-19. 

“We definitely have smaller family gatherings now, and, you know, like if people are feeling sick they just stay home rather than toughing it out,” said Kennedy, a senior film and media arts major.

Kennedy will be splitting his break between working and spending time with his family. 

Emily Baxter-Green, a junior sociology major, wants to go home to New Jersey and visit family in Massachusetts during the break. After Baxter-Green and her entire family contracted COVID-19 last holiday season, she hopes to avoid any issues due to the virus.

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