By: Sophia Naughton, Contributing Writer
Illustration by Victoria Nicholson, Marketing Manager
Enduring an ongoing pandemic, many Towson University members are experiencing a change of Thanksgiving plans.
While many have opted to minimize their celebrations to immediate family only, new Maryland regulations place further governmental restrictions on gatherings.
“With contact tracing data showing an uptick in cases resulting from family gatherings and house parties, state health officials have issued a public health advisory strongly discouraging indoor gatherings of 25 people or more,” Governor Larry Hogan announced on Nov. 10.
Hogan also encouraged Marylanders to avoid all non-essential out-of-state travel, particularly to any state with a positivity rate of over 10%.
Sophomore Sarah Buonocore says her family has worried about passing the virus to older family members.
“My dad’s family isn’t coming because they don’t want to be around as many people because they’re at risk,” Buonocore said. “My grandma’s been having a few health issues so they’re a little cautious.”
Many students face the same circumstance ahead of the holiday season, some citing a lack of excitement due to social-distancing requirements.
“My family recently cancelled our Thanksgiving plans due to the upcoming predictions of COVID-19,” Junior Paige Lininger said. “This was very upsetting to me because I have not been able to see them all year and they have already missed important life events going on with our family. The reasoning for the cancellation was primarily COVID-19 and the fact that there are relatives that are pregnant so they must be extra cautious. The only upside to not travelling there is that I will not have to quarantine.”
While junior Aris Koronios will be spending Thanksgiving with family, there will be expectations of separation at his family gathering.
“Because of COVID-19, some of my brothers have to sit excluded from the rest of the family,” Koronios said. “It honestly makes me upset that everything is not back to normal.”
According to Electronic Media and Film professor Ross Angelella, his family will be practicing the same safety guidelines that they’ve been following since March.
“We always wear masks out in the world and have been socially distant from the greater public since March,” said Angelella. “We won’t be attending any gatherings. The entire extended family agreed that cancelling our annual Thanksgiving gathering was the right thing to do.”
Other members of the TU community are seeing family but still figuring out plans.
“With the uptick in Corona virus cases, I’m pausing because my niece is a nurse in a hospital,” said Mass communications Professor Clifford Neill. “A couple of her co-workers just tested positive. We would also bring my 84-year old mother-in-law who has health concerns. We are waiting to see the details such as number of guests, seating and amount of room to work with. We might just skip the big family celebration. I’m not sure yet.”
While Buonocore’s plans have changed a little, she feels like her Thanksgiving plans haven’t been affected to a larger degree. “I’m still getting to see my family and my boyfriend’s family which is who I would usually spend the holiday with,” Buonocore said. “I don’t feel too upset about it because it is not affecting my plans all that much.”