Home For the Holidays: Pandemic Style

Photo by Alexia King

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, safety while traveling is a must. The gears of the economy are slowly beginning to turn and life is progressing again, but our new normal includes social distancing, face masks and regularly washing our hands.

With the holidays approaching, students will head home or travel to where their loved ones are. This mass movement of people can cause an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Some students might be asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus. Here are some safety tips to keep yourself and others healthy as you travel:

Keep it Simple– Try to limit unnecessary stops on your journey home or out of town. Plan ahead for what you need on the trip and limit contact with others. Every stop increases the risk of contracting or spreading the virus, so plan ahead by packing snacks and extra water, wear a comfy outfit that’s warm and remember the extra bottle of hand sanitizer (use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol) and extra masks. Taking a car versus a crowded airplane will be to your advantage in the long run. Choose a time to travel with less traffic, this will give you peace of mind and less contact with others. Plan your route ahead of time to get to your destination effectively. 

Photo by Alexia King

Check for Advisories or Updates- Challenges will arise during travel, even in “normal” times. Check businesses for altered hours and hotspot locations for the virus. Stricter mandates may be in place at your next stop, so be prepared. Certain locations require you to quarantine for a period of time, so check your local government travel advisory. This will differ from county to county, state to state and country to country. Some businesses are closed down due to employees testing positive, so stay updated as you travel. 

If You Have Symptoms– As much as everyone wants to be home for the holidays if you are feeling sick or have symptoms of the virus, do not go out in public and stay home. Call your doctor immediately and plan to get tested. K-State will continue to help students after Thanksgiving break and during online classes; communicate with professors and health professionals if you come in contact with someone who has the virus or you feel unwell. 

Remember that COVID-19 can be spread by coming into close contact (about 6 feet) with an infected person, respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, and even talking. Beware of surfaces that can host the virus, and never touch your eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands. Visit the CDC website for more information. No vaccine is available for the public yet. The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home and avoid contact with other people, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and clean surfaces and hands regularly. All of these safety measures should get us through this holiday season without another outbreak. 

Manhappenin' Magazine is Kansas State University's student-created lifestyle magazine.


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