Harrisites share their Thanksgiving plans during COVID-19

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With the unusual circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic this year, several major events have been thrown off balance. Thanksgiving, known by many as the holiday dedicated to family and heritage celebration, is no exception. The Classic asked students and teachers about how they were planning on spending Thanksgiving. 

In previous years, students and faculty said that they spent Thanksgiving much differently than they are planning to this year. Spanish teacher Beatriz Ezquerra said that since her family lives in Spain, she has always spent Thanksgiving with her friends. She added how they generally eat “the usual Thanksgiving menu.”

Physical Education teacher Jamal Bermudez also reflected on his past Thanksgiving traditions. He said, “Before quarantine I would spend Thanksgiving with my son and my brothers. After we eat, we head over to our grandma’s and eat again.” He described how his “grandma always cooks her trademark classic collard greens and yams and it is there that [his] brothers get a chance to dive in on the animal food” since he only prepares vegan food for the preliminary meal. 

This year, social distancing and Zoom calls are the new norm for some Harrisites’ families. Senior Ann Li said, “Some of my family relatives live across the country, so we don’t often get to meet them besides during the holidays…[but] this year’s holidays would certainly be a different experience [as] we won’t be able to spend Thanksgiving together. Maintaining safety precautions are our main priority.” 

Sophomore Matthew Goldstein will follow a similar plan as Ann. “Due to the coronavirus, it will just be me and my immediate family to limit the spread of the virus and avoid having people [needing] to quarantine when coming to NYC,” he shared. 

As a result of these current uncertainties, many students and faculty agreed that simply calling family members to connect is the best option.“ Of course there is a difference between a physical and virtual presence that cannot be ignored, but the virtual connections are certainly a blessing during these times,” junior Phillip Ha explained. 

Despite having to quarantine during the holidays, THHS students and teachers are maintaining positive mindsets towards Thanksgiving despite all of these changes. Junior Andre Chen commented, “The pandemic won’t impact my usual enjoyment of Thanksgiving to any appreciable extent. If anything, I’m grateful for the fact that I won’t have to listen to adults being loud while playing mahjong or random cousins running around.” 

Ms. Ezquerra expressed a similar attitude, saying, “This year, everything is impacted by [COVID-19], so zero plans.  I am totally fine with that.” Similarly, when asked about not seeing friends or family during the holiday season, Harrisites continued to convey their upbeat attitudes. Philip stated, “I am blessed enough to be close enough to my family members that an absence of physical presence for one day of the year doesn’t have too much of an affect on our relations.” 

Many will spend the holiday season appreciating what they have and counting their blessings although they cannot physically be with their friends and family. “The love is strong in my family.  It will only make us appreciate each other more,” Mr. Bermudez said.

Photo by Min Hyeok Shin