The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising college students to not travel home to visit their families for Thanksgiving break due to the risk of COVID-19 spread.
“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” reads CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations.
In August, the CDC released a report demonstrating the extreme effect isolation and lockdowns have had on Americans, especially young adults. From July to August, the CDC reported that one in four young adults aged 18-24 reported seriously contemplating suicide.
Mental and behavioral health are also rapidly declining with 30 percent of those surveyed reporting more anxiety and depression. Anxiety and substance abuse also spiked more than 40 percent due to these mental health consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Despite these alarming numbers, the CDC and health officials continue to promote policies that advocate for the same isolation that is profoundly influencing young peoples’ mental health by telling students to stay where they are at, even if they appear to be healthy.
If a student and their family choose to defy the CDC’s recommendations and hold a gathering, the CDC thinks the young adult who returns home should limit their interactions with family members. Instead of families warmly welcoming home students, many who were subjected to intense regulations across all areas of their educational, social, and spiritual lives at their universities, the CDC suggests that students be treated as a risk-filled “overnight guest.”
While Democratic leaders around the country such as California Governor Gavin Newsom party it up while issuing strict COVID-19 holiday and gathering restrictions, young adults who choose to head home for the holidays from their respective campuses across the nation are instructed to wear a mask at all times indoors except for when eating, drinking, and sleeping, to avoid interactions with family pets, and refrain from singing or shouting.
While much of the country experiences frequent cold weather this time of the year, the CDC says “interpersonal interactions” are supposed to occur outdoors and socially distanced, denying the students of any positive physical touch they might require such as a hug after a long, hard, and unprecedented semester.
The CDC previously recommended higher education institutions inform their COVID-19 response based on the advice of state and local officials depending on the region’s current health status. The CDC guidelines also say that any “implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.”
Their newest guidelines, however, recommending that students do not return home for holidays strongly contradict many universities’ decisions to shut down their campuses until mid-January, leaving many young adults stressed about their decisions to stay or go home.