Editorial | Prepare for an unconventional holiday season

On New Year’s Day, 2020, people had so much hope and excitement for the new decade. One photo, widely circulated, illustrated all the holidays falling perfectly on weekends. It just so happened 2020 was the worst year for that fantastic phenomenon.

Halloween is on Saturday this year. For most Illini, Halloween is a big deal. Not necessarily for the spooky spirit, but for the partying and socialization that accompanies it. But here is your reminder: The pandemic still rages on!

It’s great to be festive and spirited, but avoid large gatherings and keep in mind that no good costume is complete without a mask! With coronavirus numbers so low right now on campus, it would be a shame to do anything that could potentially jeopardize that.

Additionally, it is best to discourage friends from coming to visit on Halloween, or at least advise them to do so safely. Campus normally sees an influx of visitors for the holiday: students should be aware of the consequences off-campus visitors may have on coronavirus mitigation this year.

The holiday season will require a lot of adaptation this year. Some households will put out “purple pumpkins” this year to signify their home is safe for trick-or-treating.

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It’s worth considering: How will other holidays adapt this year? Will stores still attempt to hold Black Friday sales despite the annual chaos they bring? Even so, it’s probably best to sit this one out and instead, sink your dollars into a social-distance-guaranteed Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring lots of traveling. Although experts say it is unlikely one would contract COVID-19 on a plane, everyone should still be careful and take the necessary precautions, especially if the airports are as packed as they normally would be around this time of year. No one wants to be responsible for giving the family elders the coronavirus.

Furthermore, given the horrible misfortune 2020 has been, people are certain to celebrate the new year. Fellow Illini will likely be home then, but be sure to represent the school well and don’t do anything that could bring COVID-19  back to campus for the spring semester.

The holidays will bring a joyful sense of familiarity to an otherwise unorthodox year, but students ought to be mindful of reality.

The University has put forth countless resources to prevent the spread of the coronavirus; it cannot be allowed to fester as people lower their guards. Although in-person instruction is suspended after Thanksgiving Break, that isn’t a green light to forget everything we’ve learned.

Be jovial during the holidays, but be shrewd. Santa Claus will be going down lots of chimneys come Christmas Eve: you don’t want to be the one responsible for spreading coronavirus to the North Pole.