By: REYNA IWAMOTO | Staff Writer
With the end of November fast approaching, students have made plans to return home to spend the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with their families. But with the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the numerous travel restrictions, many students had to change their plans, opting instead to stay at school over the break.
Last year, sophomore Caitlyn Kanemitsu spent Thanksgiving weekend with some family members in Washington D.C., but decided to stay in New York over this year’s break because of the uncertainty that comes with traveling in the time of COVID-19.
“I was planning on going down to DC again this year to spend the holiday with family,” Kanemitsu said. “Now, I am scared that by traveling, I will not only be exposing myself to COVID-19, but also my roommates and my teammates on the swim team.”
According to the LIU Promise Fall 2020 Resident Travel and Departure form, for students like Kanemitsu, the residential hall will remain open throughout the holiday weekend, but the dining hall will be closed from November 26-28.
“I am grateful that LIU is keeping the dorms open this year for Thanksgiving break. I feel like a lot of people are in the same situation as myself, in the sense that they won’t be leaving or traveling until the end of the semester,” Kanemitsu said.
Freshman Momodou Sey had to change his plans for the break as well. Sey was initially planning to head home to The Gambia, West Africa and celebrate the holiday weekend with family, but decided to stay on campus due to the difficulties he may face traveling out of the country.
“I was planning to go back home and celebrate it with my family, but due to the pandemic I couldn’t go because most of the borders are still closed and if I go it will be very hard for me to re-enter the US,” Sey said.
“I know it’s gonna be really hard and boring for me to stay at the school because most of the students are going to their families to celebrate but that’s my only option. I can’t go anywhere,” Sey said.
From Maribor, Slovenia, junior Maja Uduc has always spent Thanksgiving break at LIU.
“I don’t really have plans for thanksgiving because from where I am from, we don’t celebrate this holiday. However, I think I am going to spend it with my boyfriend’s family,” Uduc said.
Although she plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Uduc described how the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic makes her stay at LIU over the weekend more difficult.
“I am grateful that the school is letting us stay at the dorms but at the same time, the COVID restrictions on campus don’t allow anyone to come visit the ones who are staying on campus,” Uduc said. “This makes it very hard for the people who don’t have any plans and would just love to be next to the people they love.”
For Kanemitsu, although her plans to spend the weekend with her family were thwarted, she plans to have a “friendsgiving” with her friends who are also staying at school for the break.
“I’ve never spent Thanksgiving in the city so it should be fun being able to spend it with new people in a new city this year,” Kanemitsy said.
“For the first 17 years of my life, I’ve spent Thanksgiving with my family at home in CA, even last year I spent it with family, but this year, I’m excited to possibly start a new tradition with the friends I have made here in NY because in a sense, they’re my family too,” Kanemitsu said.
Regardless of whether students are staying or traveling over Thanksgiving weekend, LIU Promise urges all resident students to complete the Thanksgiving Travel and Departure Form that can be found here.