By Andrew Dacuba
With Thanksgiving around the corner, the end of the semester approaching, and the coronavirus seemingly still ever present, St. Thomas Aquinas College released its COVID-19 plans for the rest of the semester.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released basic guidelines for Thanksgiving, such as celebrating outdoors, disinfecting areas, and limiting the number of guests. This is in conjunction with the usual expectations of wearing a mask, socially distancing, and washing one’s hands. In the state of New York, no more than 10 people should be present for Thanksgiving gatherings.
As stated by the CDC, family gatherings for Thanksgiving with those from outside one’s social circle is a risk for contracting COVID-19. In addition, families traveling for Thanksgiving can be a risk factor for spreading COVID-19.
As such, all instruction at STAC from Thanksgiving week through Dec. 4 will be conducted remotely. The school decided to make this decision, according to an e-mail from Spartan Startup, “In order to keep the campus as safe as possible in the period of time after the Thanksgiving break.” The exceptions to this policy are activities that the faculty deems necessary to conduct in-person.
No other drastic changes are being made, as the residence and dining halls will remain open. However, STAC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert Murray stated, “In the event of an increase in the number of COVID cases, we will take steps to further de-densify the campus.” This may include eliminating all in-person academic activities for the rest of the semester. Otherwise, starting Dec. 7, the school will return to the hybrid model of instruction should it be safe to do so.
For those travelling for Thanksgiving, Dr. Murray communicated the importance of following the New York State travel guidelines. According to these guidelines from the New York State Department of Health, “All travelers entering New York from a state that is not a contiguous state, or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country, shall quarantine for a period of 14 days.”
There are exceptions to this 14-day quarantine however—if a traveler was in one of the aforementioned states for more than 24 hours, they must be tested within three days of leaving, quarantine for a period of three days, and test negative again on the fourth day. Providing all these conditions, they do not have to partake in the 14-day quarantine.
For travelers in one of these states for less than 24 hours, they do not need to quarantine but must “fill out the traveler form upon entry and must obtain a diagnostic test on the fourth day after arrival in New York,” according to the guidelines.
Students should keep an eye on their emails for any adjustments made by the school or professors.