Students and Holiday Travel During COVID-19


COVID-19 spread across the world extremely quickly, mostly due to globalization and international travel. Because of this, the airline industry has had a slow recovery, especially in the U.S as the virus continues with no signs of slowing down. (Photo courtesy of Shai Barzilay)

The holidays are one of the busiest times to travel. Winter break gives students time off to go visit family or go on a trip. But what is that season going to look like this year during a pandemic?

The country is already entering a third spike of COVID-19 cases, and experts are concerned cases will go up exponentially during the holidays. College kids are returning home to their families soon.

Based on a poll given to Leesville Road High School students on Instagram, 71% of people said they won’t be traveling as they normally do for the holidays. 

Emma Polansky sympathizes with this perspective ever since her older brother got COVID at college. Now, she doesn’t want to risk anyone in her family getting sick. Polansky said her family would’ve gone skiing in-state if it weren’t for the pandemic. “I wish I could do my usual activities and travel to the places we usually go to but I understand the concern and that it is much smarter to not travel,” Polansky said via text.

Trevor Darnell, student at LRHS, and his immediate family have decided to go visit extended family for the holidays in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. “All of [my] extended family lives out in the Midwest so every year around the holidays we travel out there to see them,” Darnell said via text.

In order to stay safe and not spread the virus, his family is planning to do a two week quarantine and then get tested for COVID-19 before hitting the road. They are going to visit family members who are at a high risk first to reduce the number of germs they could come in contact with. 

This year has disrupted the travel industry immensely, laying off pilots and flight crew all over the country. Although more people are returning to airplane travel, the CDC said “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

The CDC assures that viruses don’t spread easily on planes due to the way the air is filtered and circulated. But, airport terminals and crowded lines pose a higher risk of being infected.

A safer option for holiday gatherings is to be outside. With spacing in between people and avoiding shared food, risk of contracting COVID-19 decreases. 

This poses a challenge as winter weather arrives. People are forced to gather indoors due to the upcoming cold.

It’s important to keep in mind that elderly family members are more vulnerable in fighting off the virus. The option of meeting virtually using Zoom or Google Meets to protect grandparents and family members with preexisting conditions is very probable this year.

If families decide to gather inside for holiday celebrations, the best way to protect others is to get tested for COVID-19 before, allow ventilation through open doors and windows, mask wearing, prevent food sharing, and space 6 feet apart.

For families, the decision is a hard one of whether to take advantage of holiday break. Each family has a different plan on how to handle the pandemic. As long as everyone wears a mask, social distances and washes their hands, there’s hope that next year will be more like a normal winter break.


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