With the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on daily life, Eckerd students are trying to figure out what they can do to celebrate Thanksgiving safely. Through email, Eckerd has repeatedly encouraged students to stay on campus to prevent students from being in contact with COVID-19.
Adam Colby, the assistant vice president of Eckerd’s Operations and Emergency Management team sent an email on Friday, Nov. 13, which detailed specific problems with students leaving campus for Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving, there are only two weeks left in the semester, so if a student contracts COVID-19, they will be in quarantine for the rest of the semester.
However, Eckerd has continually promoted their “Renaissance Thanksgiving” celebration which was described by Colby as “the first-ever masked, socially distant, historical-themed event,” in his most recent email. This event will take place on Thanksgiving day, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Hough Quad and Fox Hall’s patio. This email was followed by an email from Tonya Womack, the director of Campus Safety and Security, which reiterated Eckerd’s COVID-19 policies and urged students to stay safe and responsible over Thanksgiving break.
Since Jan. 21 2020, the CDC has reported a total of 12,333,452 total COVID-19 cases in the United States. In the last seven days, there have been 1,197,200 new cases. Although COVID-19 is still rapidly growing, travel organization AAA predicts that 4.45 million Americans are set to travel by plane over the upcoming holiday weekend.
COVID-19 is not keeping Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students James Annarelli from hosting his annual Thanksgiving dinner, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Fox Hall on Thanksgiving day. Usually, students who cannot make it home for Thanksgiving join Annarelli for this dinner. As most students expected to stay on campus this year, there will be two serving times that students must sign up for. The event will be socially distanced, and all students and faculty are required to wear masks
On Nov. 19, Campus Activities held their annual Thanksgiving photos outside of Brown Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event allowed students to take photos with Thanksgiving themed props and make cards to mail to friends and family.
While Eckerd has asked students not to have social gatherings, some students, like sophomore Macey Woodlock, are still planning on celebrating with their friends. While Woodlock and her friends plan to attend the school-sponsored Thanksgiving celebrations, they also plan on playing games in a dorm common area, and spending time around campus while following all Eckerd guidelines for COVID-19 safety.
“We’re not worried about the Coronavirus with our friends. The school events are a little risky, but since people are required to wear masks and sign up for times I think we’ll be okay,” Woodlock said. “ We’re still able to be with the people we love and that’s what Thanksgiving is about.”