SMITH: Stuck in the Q for Thanksgiving break? Stay safe instead of superspreading

With cases on the rise at Vanderbilt and across the nation, many will be stuck in quarantine over Thanksgiving break. And they should stay that way.


Alex Venero

Sign reads “Together we can slow the spread of COVID-19” above Hawkins Field on Vanderbilt’s campus. (Hustler Multimedia/Alex Venero)

Nora Smith, Deputy Opinion Editor

I actually love Thanksgiving. My family has our own weird traditions from crashing our family friends’ actual family’s dinner to serving some bizzare desserts, and I know everyone has their own traditions that they carry out on Thanksgiving. Whether it be Sunday football, seeing someone special or getting in some Black Friday shopping, Thanksgiving is full of traditions. Especially as busy college students, going home for a week without classes sounds like pure bliss.

So close to Thanksgiving break and I became a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. And I’m not the only one—cases are on the rise at Vanderbilt and across the country. With so many new cases, many people like myself will not be able to go home for the holidays next week, either because they’ve contracted the virus or because they’ve been in close contact with someone who has. Although Thanksgiving is a great holiday, it is not worth spreading the pandemic further. 

I, like many other students, wouldn’t want to miss any of our Thanksgiving traditions or the week at home. But the truth is, I might not be healthy enough to travel. And even though I want more than anything to see my family and go home for break, it isn’t worth the potential risk of getting my family members sick. Even worse, I could unknowingly spread the virus to at-risk essential workers while I’m traveling.

Luckily, Vanderbilt has students online for the remainder of the semester after this Friday, so Thanksgiving can be celebrated whenever or not students are healthy enough to return home. Really, traditions can be moved to the random Monday you get out of quarantine or maybe the Wednesday you’re cleared after having the virus.

Nothing is stopping you from making a turkey on any old Tuesday.

And as for Black Friday, Cyber Monday is going to be where it’s at this year anyway. 

So stay safe, Vandy. Whether you’re quarantining for close-contact or because you’ve tested positive, follow the CDC guidelines for how long you need to stay isolated. Thanksgiving Day isn’t worth the risk.