Spring Break 2021: How to Have Fun While Protecting Your Family and Community from COVID-19
One year ago, many families were unable to enjoy their traditional Spring Break get-togethers and vacations due to the sudden and widespread impact of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, Spring Break 2021 is no different.
Despite the optimism from the development of vaccines, as well as recent drops in hospitalizations and fatalities related to COVID-19, every person should continue to do their part to stop another surge in cases, even if that means postponing plans yet again.
“The pandemic is not over, and people should not pretend that it’s safe to go and enjoy a traditional Spring Break,” said Dr. Linda Yancey, M.D., infectious disease specialist for Memorial Hermann Health System. “I know we are all tired of social distancing, but it’s too soon to let our guard down. The last thing we want is another surge in cases when we’re finally seeing the numbers trend down.”
Yancey noted that while she and other public health experts are optimistic that the U.S. will reach herd immunity once vaccine supply is bolstered and they become more widely available to the general public, we are not there yet, and the health and safety of our community is at risk if we do not continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and proper hand hygiene.
“Even people who have been vaccinated still need to adhere to these best practices, since they are protected from developing the disease, but not necessarily from carrying the virus,” Yancey said. “Just because you are vaccinated does not mean you can’t be an asymptomatic carrier, and my fear is that large college crowds, family vacations in packed resorts, or even small get-togethers will lead to another surge in cases—and another surge in deaths.”
From a public health perspective, the goal isn’t to put a damper on everyone’s fun, Yancey added, but rather to offer alternatives that won’t cause additional spread of COVID-19.
“I absolutely encourage people to be creative and still enjoy their week off.” Yancey said. “Just please avoid large social gatherings, especially crowded indoor spaces. And wear your mask.”
She said that with a little imaginative thinking, everyone—from college students to families to retirees—can enjoy Spring Break safely.
“Go explore the great outdoors, find a secluded spot on the beach, enjoy home-cooked dinners and games with people from your household or bubble, try a new recipe or a new hobby that you can learn with others—even if it’s over Zoom,” Yancey said. “I know none of this can replace the kinship of getting together or vacationing with friends and family, but if we can just keep these alternative social practices up a little longer, we can all plan on Spring Break 2022 being the best one yet.”
By Alexandra Becker