As the semester winds down and the stress of finals slowly starts to lift off our shoulders, we can’t help but feel excited about our month-long break from exams, papers, and most importantly: Zoom.
However, we also can’t stress enough that even though Framingham State students are taking time off, the pandemic is not.
Massachusetts is in the middle of a second surge, and with the holiday season in full swing, the pandemic will likely get worse before it gets better. On Wednesday alone, there were 3,157 deaths in the U.S. Massachusetts has already begun to roll back its reopening, and we must continue to stay cautious in order to prevent any further rollbacks.
While the holidays are a joyous time and everyone is looking forward to seeing their friends and families, remaining vigilant still needs to be a priority.
We are just as jubilant as the rest of the community as we anticipate the semester break. Some of us miss our parents, our dogs, and yes – even our younger siblings.
But the last thing anyone wants is to bring COVID-19 home to their families.
Avoiding large holiday gatherings and parties is a must in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Instead, find clever ways to meet up with those you love – such as going for walks or hosting a bonfire. There are so many easy ways to stay connected to your friends while maintaining a safe distance.
Instead of traveling to a family member’s house for a holiday party, try a Zoom call instead. You will still get to see your relative while keeping everyone safe.
No one wants to give grandma COVID-19.
While you may not be able to go to the movie theater with your friends, try hosting a watch party online. Teleparty, formerly Netflix Party, allows you to watch anything on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Disney+ with other people – all from the comfort of your own home.
Virtual games are another way for people to socialize online. Set up a Discord server and try Among Us or any Jackbox mini-game.
It is also possible to perform “normal” activities in a safe, socially distanced manner.
It is OK to go for a run outside or play with your dog at the park – as long as you ensure you are wearing your mask and keeping yourself, and those around you, safe through social distancing.
If you do find yourself experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – loss of taste or smell, a dry cough, or a sore throat – please try to locate a testing site in your area in order to get tested and then proceed to quarantine until you receive your results while contacting those with whom you had come into close contact. Many CVS Pharmacies and cities have set up drive-thru testing sites, and your insurance is likely to cover the cost.
If you live near campus or plan to stay during the break period, FSU will still be providing free COVID-19 testing for students.
We know that many of you – us included – hoped that by now, there would be more normalcy in the world. However, 2020 is not even close to a normal year.
We know you are just as ecstatic as we that vaccines are starting to be dispersed – but it will be another six months at least until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low enough to return to even a small sense of normalcy.
In any case, if you do decide to see your friends and family in person, please remain vigilant.
Encourage your friends to get tested before hanging out with them. Wear masks, even if those tests are negative. And don’t share drinks or anything other people have put into their mouths.
Remember, although it may seem appealing to go out and have fun with friends and family this holiday season, caution remains of the utmost importance for all of our safety.
We all want to see our friends over the break.
We all want to have a fun, relaxing month off from school.
But, most importantly, we all want to be safe, healthy, and COVID-free.