Temple students alter Thanksgiving plans and traditions

As COVID-19 cases rise, students alter celebration plans with family and friends for the holiday.

Emma Hines (left), a sophomore theater education major, and DeAhna Fisher, a sophomore biology with teaching major, sit on the lawn outside the Paley Building on Nov. 9. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In past years, Ricardo Fortuna spent Thanksgiving at home in Brazil or with his host family in Ohio, but this year his plans are still undecided.

“I am talking to a few friends of mine to see if I can possibly spend it with them,” said Fortuna, a junior neuroscience major. “Worst case scenario, I will probably just stay here.” 

As COVID-19 cases rise in Philadelphia and around the country, students are changing their traditional Thanksgiving plans to reduce the risk of possibly spreading COVID-19. Some students plan to travel home and host smaller celebrations with immediate family, while others may stay on campus. 

Families should host dinners with people in their household to lower the risk of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Philadelphia reported a seven day average of 721 cases on Nov. 13, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. National cases increased by more than 177,000 on Nov. 13, bringing total United States cases to almost 11 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Yesterday, Philadelphia announced a ban on indoor gatherings with people from different households until Jan. 1, 2021, The Temple News reported.

Emma Hines, a sophomore theater education major, said her family is planning a smaller Thanksgiving at home this year. Usually, 12 to 14 people come, but she expects only four people this year, she said.

“Normally my extended family comes here, or we go there, but this year it’s just my immediate family,” Hines said. “I think we’re ordering Chinese. It’s not going to be a big Thanksgiving this year like it normally is.”

DeAhna Fisher is also expecting a smaller get-together this year to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“Usually it’s just immediate family, except I think my grandmother is not going to come this year,” said Fisher, a sophomore biology with teaching major.

Fisher and her family always pick out a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but this year they aren’t going because it may be crowded and they want to ensure they are following social distancing recommendations, she added.  

Mitten Hall will conduct COVID-19 testing between Nov. 16 and Nov. 20 for students planning to leave campus for the fall break, The Temple News reported.

Students planning to return to Philadelphia should self-quarantine for 14 days after traveling during break, The Temple News reported.

Hines and Fisher are roommates off campus and neighbors back home in West Hartford, Connecticut, so they plan to get tested before traveling home to spend the holiday there.

“We have decided that we’re going to get tested before we go home,” Fisher said. “As long as we’re COVID-19 free, I think we should be okay.” 

Shannan Lowe goes Black Friday shopping every year with her mom and her best friend, but they won’t be going this year, she said. Instead, they plan to go shopping online for Cyber Monday. 

“We are going to get our hot chocolate and coffee and probably just sit at my kitchen table,” said Lowe, a senior biology major.

Stores like Walmart are changing Black Friday protocol by separating it into three events throughout November and giving shoppers the chance to order gifts online, CNBC reported.

John McCoy, a sophomore journalism major, is upset because this year his family will not hold their annual family football game, he said.

“My family usually goes to Mullin Playground and has a big family football game, and because a couple people are away at college and the pandemic, we won’t be playing that game this year,” McCoy said.

Maryam Muhammad, a sophomore journalism major, said while there are not any special traditions she does, she and her mom are upset they won’t be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” on ABC because Apple bought the rights to the special

Muhammad is excited for the upcoming break and to take time away from schoolwork to relax, she added.

“Especially this semester, I am really excited for the break because I have been overwhelmed doing all this schoolwork,” Muhammad said.

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