COVID and Thanksgiving: Travel or Not, According to Input From the CDC
Thanksgiving is an important holiday to most Americans. It’s the time of year to gather with extended family and give thanks for all you have, all you have endured this year, and all you have gained, as well as giving thanks for family. However, 2020 has been a very different sort of year, and with the pandemic reaching catastrophic numbers and proportions, the CDC is warning people to avoid traveling to see family. Some families will still travel, and some will travel with children. Here’s the CDC’s advice whether you travel with children or choose not to travel at all. Read More »
While the CDC and the government in most of the country can’t prevent you from traveling, they are advising that people do not travel for Thanksgiving at all. The virus has hit the Midwest with a vengeance right now, and anyone traveling through Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Dakotas, etc., are exposing themselves to even higher levels of COVID.
When you travel with children in tow, they are known to be asymptomatic carriers and can spread the virus even faster than adults. Your children may be perfectly healthy in appearance but have a viral load that could take down an elephant. Very few children have become particularly ill and fewer children have died, but that is not a good reason to have them travel anyway. Recognizing that children can be super-quiet super-spreaders of the virus, the CDC advises that families stay home and stay safe.
Traveling With Children Anyway
The CDC also recognizes that families are going to travel anyway. Knowing that, the CDC has set up some guidelines to help parents traveling with children to travel safely and carefully. The CDC recommends that families drive instead of fly, especially if there are small children who cannot wear a mask or children who can’t wear a mask for medical reasons. By driving to your destination, you decrease the crowds in an airport that could be a catalyst for the virus infecting your entire family. Any virus droplets remain within your own vehicle instead of all over surfaces in an airport or on a plane.
Families are also told to make as few stops as possible along their route. Bathroom breaks should be taken together and only when necessary. Hand-washing should follow every restroom stop and everyone needs to wear a mask in the bathrooms. Additionally, any stops for food until you reach your destination should be drive-through only to prevent any extra risk of contracting the virus. Finally, families should consider all getting a COVID test three days before departing for their destination to ensure that they are not traveling with the virus in their systems.
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Not Including the Matriarch or Patriarch of the Family
Sure, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Grandma or Grandpa, but if the kiddos are carrying the virus, that could spell disaster for the grandparents. Opt to visit with the grandparents virtually. You can even open a laptop to seat them at the Thanksgiving table and converse with everyone from afar. They can eat their own dinner at home, while you and yours eat dinner with the kids.
Masks and Hand Sanitizer All the Way
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Finally, all children should wear masks all the time while traveling and even while visiting with family. Hands should be sanitized often. If a child sneezes or coughs in a mask, replace it. Social distancing should be occurring, even if families are gathering at one house, and the CDC suggests keeping family gatherings to less than ten people. If you come from a very big family and have an extended family, you may have to pick and choose who you visit this Thanksgiving just to keep the celebration small and keep the kids safe.
Quarantine, Quarantine, Quarantine
Several states, including Washington and Oregon, are considering going into lockdown mode as we speak. If you travel to those states, you may be stuck there for weeks, so carefully consider your plans. Other states, like Illinois, have had two-week quarantine mandates for months now. It means that anyone traveling to Illinois for any reason is expected to quarantine themselves for two weeks before venturing out in the state or returning to their home state. Other states have chosen to ban residents of states where the virus is rampant, thereby not allowing those travelers to even come through an airport. Currently Wisconsin is on a ban list for New York, and many other states are in the same boat.
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If you are traveling with children, it’s a good idea not only to check what is happening in your destination state, but also have a plan ready in case the state goes into lockdown. Additionally, if you are traveling to a state that requires a two-week quarantine period and you are staying with family for all of your Christmas break, that may help. However, you aren’t so lucky when it comes to the quarantine requirement and Thanksgiving.
If your kids are currently attending school by virtual model only, take the laptops with. You can quarantine and still attend school after the Thanksgiving holiday is over. Then return home when the quarantine period has ended. Otherwise, revisit the idea of staying home and doing Thanksgiving virtually.
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