Thanksgiving travel not advised with cases rising, Vermonters encouraged to get creative

Local News

With Thanksgiving weeks away, the Vermont Department of Health is urging friends and families to have an important conversation. 

They’re calling it a ‘Covid-talk.’  

“We strongly advise not traveling this Thanksgiving. We think there are risks involved in hosting or participating in any gathering. And those risks need to be evaluated from a personal perspective and from the perspective of your family and friends,” said Secretary Dan French with the Agency of Education.

This health recommendation comes as cases creep up in the Green Mountain State.  

“Notice that our highest number of cases back in april was 70. Two days ago, we reached 35. Fortunately, that has come down in the last day to 24, but it’s pretty obvious from the way the graph looks that as we’ve entered the fall, we’ve had a pretty consistent new normal of cases,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine.

To guide Vermonters, the Health Department created a travel tool-kit, equipped with health strategies and prompts for facilitating Covid conversations. 

“Whether you attend a gathering, make sure that everyone has the same understanding of the precautions, such as wearing masks and distancing. Additionally, everyone should get a flu shot before Thanksgiving,” said French.

Secretary French mentioned students — Pre-k through 12 — will not move to remote learning after Thanksgiving.  

“I’ve been asked if we will be considering putting all schools in for remote learning after thanksgiving, as part of a preemptive strategy to address potential safety travel and quarantine considerations. Quite simply, I feel that taking such action would not be in the best interest of our students,” said French.

But college students studying out of state as well as community members who plan to travel or get together locally are advised to be cautious.  

“Just yesterday vermont had 24 cases. And while that was a refreshing drop, as I just pointed out from the previous day. Our neighbor to the east, with twice the population at 10 times this many cases,” said Levine.

Levine points out, the nation is in a different stage of the pandemic, making these Covid talks all the more crucial. And Dr. Rebecca Bell with the Vermont Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics empowers the younger generation to initiate these conversations.   

“Adolescents are really actually much better than adults at having some challenging conversations. Secretary French talked about having a Covid conversation, and I actually think young people are going to be better at doing things like that,” said Dr. Bell.

Dr. Levine and Secretary French acknowledged Vermonters efforts to find creative solutions just as they did for high school graduation cermonies and on Halloween this year. As difficult as it may be, they encourage the state to find alternatives to their Thanksgiving celebrations as well.

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