With Thanksgiving around the corner, we wanted to take this opportunity to share how to make your holiday plans in a manner that reduces the spread of COVID-19 all while keeping your friends, family, and our community healthy and safe. As you are all aware, the number of positive cases in our surrounding community are on the rise. Per the CDC, a major contributing factor is the number of gatherings still occurring within our community.
One way you can help slow the spread of COVID this holiday season is through celebrating virtually or with those in your immediate household. This type of gathering poses the lowest risk for spread. We encourage you to choose fun alternative activities that pose lower risk of spreading COVID-19 this holiday season. Some of these activities include:
having a small dinner with only people who live in your household;
preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others;
having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family;
shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving; and
watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
When making holiday plans, consider the risk of spread based on the size of the event and take steps to reduce the spread. Please keep the following factors in mind when planning to attend a gathering this holiday season:
Community levels of COVID-19 – Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering.
Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
Duration of the gathering - Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.
Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.
Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – 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.
While we want nothing more than to be with our entire family group and friends this holiday season, we understand that COVID-19 has brought many changes that have made this not the safest way to proceed. Thus, we ask you to proceed with caution this holiday season and help us continue reducing the spread of COVID-19 both on campus and off.
What can you do to slow the spread of COVID?
Wear your mask properly when around others outside your household
Maintain 6 feet of physical distancing wherever possible
Wash your hands with soap and water frequently (scrub your hands for 20 seconds or longer) and if soap and water isn't available use hand sanitizer