COVID-19 Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of friends and families gathered around a table to eat dinner, there also might be a fun game of football, watching the parade or playing board games with cousins.

However, because of COVID-19 this year, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday might look different. Friends and families are having to figure out how they will modify their plans to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations for safety from the Centers for Disease Control.

The City of Springfield released a list of suggestions for holiday activities organized in high, low or moderate risk categories. This includes joining Zoom calls instead of large gatherings, hosting small dinners outside, holiday and shopping online.

Emma Nelson, junior communication major, said she will be going back to St. Louis for Thanksgiving but her family has significantly modified their Thanksgiving this year compared to other years. 

“We have had to modify in many ways,” Nelson said. “I usually go to two to four Thanksgivings every year. It’s kinda complicated but I actually love how busy it is. However, this year I’m only doing Thanksgiving with my immediate family. It will definitely be a change of pace.” 

Nelson said her hometown community usually has a chili cook-off the night before Thanksgiving that she normally would attend but it will probably not be happening this year. 

“My grandma is in assisted living so we can’t see her in person, only from outside her window,” Nelson said. “I believe we are going to drop off food for her and stand outside her window and visit for a bit. It’s kinda sad thinking that we won’t be able to with her on Thanksgiving or even Christmas.” 

In addition to Nelson, Alison Hatfield, junior mathematics major had to modify her Thanksgiving plans.. In previous years, Hatfield said she would normally have her mom and dad’s side over but this year it will just be immediate family. 

“This year we are just doing dinner and that’s all,” Hatfield said. “Normally we have a cornhole tournament and hang out all day. The hardest part is all of the traditions not being the same. I haven’t been able to see my family from out of town for a very long time so it’s just very sad to not be able to spend this holiday with them.” 

Some college students have considered quarantining for two weeks prior to going home for Thanksgiving so they are able to see their families.  

Kathryn Hall, public health information administrator for Springfield-Greene County Health, said students have to truly quarantine in order to do this. 

“If you have the option of being truly at home, not going to work, not going to school, not going to the grocery store, that may be a good method to give yourself a little more protection when you go home,” Hall said. “But don’t forget it’s not just going with your family it’s also coming back (to school). What are you bringing back with you as well? So unless you can quarantine for two weeks before and 2 weeks after, it’s really not any kind of guarantee.”

When figuring out plans for the holiday, Hall said many people have been looking on the website for recommendations and weighing their options under these circumstances.

“I know a lot of people are kind of just waiting it out to see what happens and trying to make the best choice based on what they know,” Hall said. 

Hall said it will be interesting to see what will happen in the days following Thanksgiving and how it will be addressed as a community. 

The City of Springfield’s website also has a health assessment quiz that can help people determine the risk of their Thanksgiving Day plans.