Holiday survey suggests students COVID-conscious over Thanksgiving


Nicholas Djedjos

Out of a total of 36 responses, 22 students answered that their Thanksgiving celebrations were more COVID-conscious this year. 13 students responded that it remained around the same. And the remaining two stated it was not more COVID-conscious.

Nicholas Djedjos, Copy Editor

This Thanksgiving was like no other, and with Christmas rapidly approaching, it remains paramount that long distance traveling and large gatherings are limited to prevent the further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Still, over the Thanksgiving break, U.S. air travel hit its highest level since mid-March, with over 1.17 million TSA screenings. Health officials are sounding the alarm about the repercussions of this, from burgeoning case loads to the risk of hospitals reaching a breaking point.

While some ran the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, other families kept their Thanksgiving activities at home. From celebrating virtually with grandparents to postponing social scavenger hunts, Americans huddled down and tried to keep celebrations safe, yet festive. MSMS students were no different.

“Normally, all of my family members from across the state have a huge gathering at my great grandparents’ house,” junior Gabbryielle Jackson said. “There is a lot of noise, food, and love. This year we had separate Thanksgivings with our immediate families and had a Zoom conference so we could still see each other.”

Out of 36 responses to a school-wide email, 22 students stated that their Thanksgiving celebrations were more COVID-conscious than last year, with 13 students reporting that their celebrations remained around the same. Two students responded that their celebrations were not more COVID-conscious this year.

A majority of the responses reflect caution and consideration from the student body in regards to possible COVID-19  dangers.

“We normally celebrate with ten other families to have a ‘Chinese’ potluck Thanksgiving with nontraditional dishes, but this year we celebrated by ourselves and didn’t cook too much food since we couldn’t share with others,”  junior Amanda Zhou said.

“Normally, my family and I drive up to New Jersey, where my great aunt lives, to spend Thanksgiving break with her and all of our family members in the United States. There are about five families who show up, so her house is completely packed with people,” senior Aabha Mantri said. “This year, we all stayed home, had a Zoom party just to see each other, and that was it, so I had time to work on college apps.”

Notably, many students who responded “remained the same” already had small Thanksgiving celebrations.

“I usually celebrate Thanksgiving with my immediate family, and that is what we did this year too,” senior Kathryn Hall said.

“I just celebrate Thanksgiving with my family who lives in the house,” junior Tsetsenkhaan Tsogt-Erdene said.

However, even with efforts made by MSMS students and others limiting their Thanksgiving celebrations, national COVID-19 cases have still significantly increased over the past week and are set to grow further due to Thanksgiving travelers. With the Christmas travel and shopping season rapidly approaching, and the effects of the “superimposed surge” from Thanksgiving travelers, it seems that COVID-19 cases will continue rising.

With that in mind, many MSMS students plan to remain careful with upcoming traveling and shopping.

“We are pretty conscious about social distancing, but we also don’t have much reason to go out right now,” senior Joshua Bates said.  “Our family stays home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and we have always avoided Black Friday and just shopped online.” 

“We normally travel to visit family, as I have no extended family in Mississippi, but we aren’t sure if we will get to. We still have plans, but if an outbreak happens here or there we obviously wouldn’t risk traveling,” senior Bryce Harrison said.

In the face of rising infections and lack of available tests, MSMS has announced the decision to spend the rest of the semester with distance learning only. With the continued adherence to COVID-19 precautions detailed in this survey, MSMS students may return to campus in person next semester.

“If we follow COVID-19 precautions, and we stay safe, it’s likely the cases will go down,” junior Aadhav Senthil said. “If these cases go down, I believe we have a chance of going to school in person.”