Students discuss spring break plans, concerns during pandemic

Many+students+enjoy+their+day+and+the+nice+weather+on+the+quad+on+March+5+before+the+last+week+of+school+prior+to+spring+break.+

Sidney Malone

Many students enjoy their day and the nice weather on the quad on March 5 before the last week of school prior to spring break.

By Nicole Littlefield, Contributing Writer

After the stress of midterms, spring break has arrived for University students. As a university with students from all over the country and the world, many will be returning home for the long awaited break.

As students do have their spring break plans already scheduled, a few are worried about feeling safe traveling home after COVID-19 policies changed at the University. 

Siena O’Connor, freshman in FAA, is traveling back home to Athens, Georgia. O’Connor plans to spend her break with her long-distance friends and boyfriend. She said that she will also be celebrating her birthday with her twin brother. 

“I’ve got my dog, my family, and friends,” said O’Connor. “A friend and I are staying in a RV on a lake for a couple of nights. So, that should be fun!”

Although both of O’Connor’s parents have preexisting conditions and come into contact with her grandmother frequently, she will be flying back home.

“I definitely want to be careful and not spread stuff, but I also had COVID like a month ago,” O’Connor said. “So, when I had it, I was with my whole family and none of them got sick. I’m hoping that if I keep my mask on and social distance, everything will be okay.”

Some students, such as Cameron Beard, freshman in LAS, who have recently had COVID-19 feel they will be less likely to spread the virus. Beard is also planning on going back home for spring break and is not too worried about getting sick again. 

“I had COVID a month ago,” said Beard. “Supposedly you can’t get it again for 90 days because of antibodies. So, it should be a pretty chill break.”

University policy requires students to quarantine for five days after testing positive. The University also gives sick students the option to go home to quarantine.

Beard was one student quarantined at home earlier this semester. He said that this time, his visit home will be relaxing without the virus looming over his worries.

“I’m going to meet up with some friends from my hometown who are going to other colleges,” said Beard. “We had plans to visit New Orleans at some point, but we never actually planned it out, and then suddenly spring break was two weeks away.”

Some students are not going home for spring break. Anishi Patel, sophomore in LAS and FAA, is planning on spending her off-time traveling. Patel and her friend from high school were planning the trip to celebrate their high school graduation, but the pandemic prevented them from traveling.

“I’m going on a road trip for the entirety of spring break,” said Patel. “I’m driving up into New York, not the city, but the state. We will be spending six days and then driving back.”

Although Patel has family that lives in New York, this will be the first time she is visiting them since the start of the pandemic because she wanted to wait for a time she felt more comfortable. For this reason, Patel said that she doesn’t plan on visiting big cities or public areas.

“We planned out the trip specifically to make sure that we don’t go into any super populated areas,” Patel said. “Mostly small towns; the hotels that are small bed and breakfasts with not a lot of people around.”

Although many states have lifted mask mandates, Patel said that her fear of bringing the virus back to the University after the break is the reason she plans on still wearing a mask in public.

“I have a huge fear of bringing COVID back to U of I after traveling because I have so many in-person classes and rehearsals,” Patel said. “I do not want to bring COVID back and cancel the entire theater department. That’s my worst nightmare.” 

[email protected]