September 27th, 2019
Travel precautions needed this holiday
THURS. | 12-24-20 | NEWS
SAT. | 10-10-20 | NEWS
The holiday season brings new opportunities to connect with loved ones through engaging in reunions and events. However, it is important to recognize how certain holiday plans should be altered during this time to limit the prevalence of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that COVID-19 will continue to spread, especially with the continuation of travel plans during this holiday season.
“Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC website said. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
There are different recommendations for each category of travel. Masks and social distancing are always preferred no matter the form of travel taken. According to the CDC, the safest option of travel is by car, as people are protected by the safety of their own space, as long as there are not frequent pit stops to gas stations being made. With air transportation, germs do not spread as easily because of the air circulation vents and filters on airplanes, however, social distancing is often not enforced. For any form of transportation, the CDC reminds travellers that there is always the danger of touching frequently used surfaces.
“Limit touching frequently touched surfaces such as kiosks, digital interfaces such as touchscreens and fingerprint scanners, ticket machines, turnstiles, handrails, restroom surfaces, elevator buttons and benches as much as possible,” the CDC website said.
The CDC advises anyone planning holiday gatherings to take the opportunities to create a safer environment for all attendees. Indoor gatherings pose a greater risk than outdoor gatherings because of the enclosed space with poor ventilation. To prevent this, people can choose to gather outside, or open windows and doors in the home.
“Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented,” the CDC website said.
To reduce the risk of disease from common foodborne bacteria, it is also very essential to implement safe food handling practices. The CDC encourages guests to provide food and beverages only for themselves rather than for all people at the function, avoiding potluck style food courses. The host can also assign one person wearing a mask to serve the food so that the serving utensils are not being used by different people. Plastic utensils, plates and cups that can be easily thrown away after use is highly recommended.
Senior Grayson Norwood has experienced first-hand what it means to have holiday plans cancelled due to the virus.
“I was supposed to see my grandparents on Thanksgiving by having them sit outside with us and do our usual oyster roast with them,” Norwood said.
Before Thanksgiving, her volleyball team was playing another team and one of the players on the opposing team tested positive
Graphic by Ashley Van Havere
for COVID-19, so the entire Rose team including herself had to quarantine, resulting in Norwood’s holiday plans being cancelled.
“It was hard not seeing my grandparents this year on Thanksgiving since we haven’t seen them as often anyway from the Coronavirus,” Norwood said.
When deciding who to celebrate with, the CDC recommends that only the people who live in the same household should gather for holiday gatherings. Anyone else outside of your household, such as siblings, grandparents or cousins, increases the risk of spreading and contracting the virus.
“Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times,” the CDC website said. “Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.”
Freshman Mia Solis Padilla is another student this season to have her holiday plans adjusted due to the pandemic.
“My original plans were for my family to come visit me and spend the holidays together,” Solis Padilla said. “Now, I’m spending my holiday season with my home family.”
Solis Padilla said that because she did not want to risk her grandmother getting exposed to the virus while traveling, she decided that it would be best to spend the holidays with only the people in her home. She believes that if Rose students take the right precautions, there will not be as much of an increase in cases this holiday season.
“Of course we all want to travel and go out, but if we had stayed and followed the rules more appropriately we would have less cases at this point,” Solis Padilla said.
The CDC reminds people who are traveling frequently to wash their hands, bring hand sanitizer with them and social distance. The holidays can still be fun without the use of frequent traveling during this season.