Thanksgiving break will be a week long this year at Champlain College, as opposed to the typical three day hiatus the school usually gives. In a typical semester, students have a two-day fall break in October and three days off for Thanksgiving, but this year the college combined the two in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 due to traveling.
Students will not be permitted to return to campus after November 22, except those living in the 194 St. Paul apartments. Others living on campus will not be able to return until two weeks after the beginning of the second semester.
15 students responded to a survey for the Crossover, disclosing their travel plans for the break. 73.3 percent of people said that they are currently taking classes fully virtually, many of them in their home states already. Some live in Burlington in off-campus apartments, as well. In this case, they will not have to travel. Out of 13 people, 69.2 percent said they were planning on traveling home.
46 percent of people said they would travel by car if they decide to venture out of state for the break. One person said they would have to take a plane, putting them slightly more at risk of Covid-19.
There are some safety precautions people have agreed to take when traveling out of state. One person said: “Keep a mask on and distance myself from others and quarantine with my immediate family before inviting others over.” Another explained: “Wearing a mask, repeatedly wearing hand sanitizer, distancing as much as I can.” Others added that they were going to try to make as few stops as possible, even avoiding stopping for food and gas.
Wearing masks is one of the most important aspects when traveling, especially if going by a mode of public transportation. Champlain College heavily promotes wearing masks, so this should not seem new to students.
Many people have strong opinions about going fully virtual after the break. One student communicated, “I’d personally rather just stay here and go until Christmas break and not have to fully move out before break and finals.” Another said: “It’s a necessary evil. I miss being in a classroom and finding a space in my home to study and finish the semester will be difficult.” Some students were given priority for housing due to technical difficulties at home. The rest of the semester may be difficult for those students to participate.
Some agreed that being fully virtual will feel almost the same as it does now, because some people have been participating that way the entire semester. One person even prefers it: “I’m honestly okay with it, since all my classes are already virtual. I’ve found I work a lot better attending classes virtually.”
A few people mentioned that they feel disappointed, but they know it has to be done: “I’m already home so it doesn’t really affect me personally too much, but I think it’s a good idea just because there’s no way to know that every single person who went home for Thanksgiving was safe or wasn’t exposed to COVID-19 in some way.” Another said: “I think it’s an interesting idea that could combat the potential dilemmas we face during this complicated time in a really intuitive way. Online school might not be everyone’s preference, but almost anyone who can do school in-person can also do it virtually with the right resources. I personally feel that for those that choose to continue to pursue education at this time, this is a really nice opportunity to have.”
Students will begin the spring semester virtually on January 25, 2021, resuming in-person classes on February 8.