Safe Thanksgiving: College kids, gatherings, best practices and more

As COVID rates rise, the message has been clear and consistent for weeks now: Avoid holiday gatherings with anyone outside your immediate family and if you do have plans to see others, make sure you meet outdoors and mask up. In just the past week, Piedmont has seen virus cases tick up from 52 to 61, per the Alameda County COVID-19 dashboard.

Here’s a look at recent guidance from experts around the country regarding the best (and most realistic) ways to manage this Thanksgiving week.

From the New York Times: How Can My College Student Come Home Safely for Thanksgiving?

“When college students come home, they’ve really got to be careful,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “It depends on where they’re coming from and what the level of infection is in the community they are in.” Read more specific guidance about testing, travel, and isolating protocols from the article HERE.

From The Atlantic: The Pandemic Safety Rule That Really Matters

Simply put: Don’t spend time indoors with people outside your household. “The coronavirus spreads through the air, so—no matter where you are, even if you’re at your grandma’s house, or your best friend’s—breathing the same air as other people for extended periods of time is risky.” Read more HERE.

From the CDC: Celebrating Thanksgiving

The CDC has issued a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts that apply for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

illustration of people at an airport social distancing and using hand sanitizer

Wear a mask

illustration of a young woman leaving home wearing a mask
  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

illustration of a person and child wearing masks standing six feet apart from a young woman wearing a mask

Wash your hands

illustration of a person wearing a mask washing their hands
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a Gathering

illustration of a woman wearing a mask arriving for a gathering

Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.

If you choose to attend a gathering, make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps if attending a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.

If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. These steps include:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you

illustration of a young family enjoying a virtual meal with an older couple
  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.

Watch television and play games with people in your household

  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.

Shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others and wear a mask.

Other Activities

  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

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