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T minus 14 Days to T-Day

Section 1

November 12, 2020

Dear Anteater Family,

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, now is a good time to evaluate and plan your options for gathering with loved ones. Every choice you make will have impacts on your family and friends, including those on campus. We encourage you to take into consideration the tips and timeline below for celebrating smart.

outside gathering

Top 5 Tips for a COVID-safe Thanksgiving

Those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving 399 years ago have something in common with today’s holiday revelers. They had also struggled with a deadly epidemic.

To help protect you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving, here are our top five tips for holiday health.

  1. When in doubt, bow out. If you feel sick, don’t go. Yes, everyone will be disappointed, but this rule is critical. If you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, you must stay home and avoid socializing. And remember, other holidays are right around the corner. You can catch up then. Follow the same advice after the holidays: If you feel sick while away, please don’t return to campus.

  2. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. Indoor gatherings, especially in small spaces with poor ventilation, are riskier than outdoor gatherings. At the very least, open the windows if you can’t congregate outside.

  3. A rolling stone gathers no virus. The longer the party, the higher the risk. Ditto for close contact with someone who’s infected (not everyone who is contagious shows symptoms). Limit your exposure.

  4. The more the scarier. Bigger crowds = greater risk. The number of invitees should be based on the ability of guests from different households to stay at least 6 feet apart.

  5. Eat, drink and be wary. You know the drill by now: Wear a mask, stay physically distanced and wash your hands. By all means, enjoy visiting with family and friends, but don’t drop your guard.

T minus 14 Days: Countdown to Thanksgiving

Nov. 12 - TODAY! – Health experts strongly recommend not traveling for Thanksgiving, but if you must, today is the day you should begin taking precautions to quarantine and maintain social distance protocols. For students, this includes even within your zotpods. Wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and your friends and colleagues.

Nov. 14 – Take the weekend to have discussions with your Thanksgiving Day group about the best options to keep crowds small, maintain physical distance and safely serve meals.

Nov. 21 – If you are an on-campus resident or an onsite employee who has a positive test result and are in isolation (or are quarantining from a recent exposure to someone who tested positive), you should complete the required isolation or quarantine and not travel until that period has concluded. For others, UCI Health offers recommendations on whether you should be tested. Contact the Student Health Center, the Center for Environmental and Occupational Health or your healthcare provider if you feel that you need a COVID-19 test.

Nov. 25 – Whenever you hit the road, be sure to stay vigilant and follow safe travel tips. The CDC offers advice on different modes of traveling, including by carpool, plane and bus. Know what the COVID-19 infection rate is for your destination. Also be aware of travel restrictions, which can vary by county and state.

Nov. 26 – Thanksgiving Day! Be sure to heed the top 5 tips above, because our greatest risk for catching and spreading COVID-19 is when we let our guards down around the people with whom we feel most comfortable. The CDC offers tips on serving food and drinks at small gatherings.

Nov. 27 – UCI recommends that on-campus residents who will be traveling home for Thanksgiving break remain at home for the rest of the quarter. Remember, once you return to campus, you must sequester for 14 days, be tested twice (once upon return and again a week later) and have two negative test results before you can emerge after 14 days of mandatory sequester. The sequester takes you to final exam week, then winter break.

We understand that 2020 has been a difficult year and that gathering with family and friends is a way to achieve some normalcy and celebration during the holidays. Yet, the coronavirus is still with us, and infections are growing rapidly throughout the nation, including Southern California. Whatever your choices, please keep in mind that we are indeed all in this together and need to do our individual best for the greater good. For more information, please see UCI’s holiday safety webpage.

have a safe thanksgiving

With gratitude for our Anteater community, especially our essential workers,

Hal S. Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor