Many Students Leave Virginia in their Rearview Mirrors this Spring Break

Mollie Kemp ‘23 and Adair Edwards ‘22

The highly anticipated “spring break week” of March 19th through the 28th is within grasping distance and seems to beckon from the calendars. As everyone drags their overworked bodies to the finish line of the famed break, COVID creates more undesired roadblocks. However, while traveling is still a big risk, this year has also been extremely exhausting and many feel that a vacation is in order, while taking the necessary precautions of course. 

 

According to a Google Form sent out to Upper School students asking about spring break plans, there were a total of fifty-six responses in which a whopping 66% of students said they were traveling. The other 28.6 % said they were not traveling and 5.4% said they were unsure of their plans. Out of 42 responses based on transportation, 57.1% of students planned to travel by plane, 38.1% by car, and the remaining 4.8% by train. 

 

A clear frontrunner of popular destinations was Florida. Freshman Augusta Adams commented that she’ll be flying to Rosemary Beach in Florida and also taking Ubers to get to her hotel while attempting to stay as safe as possible. Another ten students stated they were going to places in Florida such as Palm Beach and Marathon Beach. Three students plan to travel to South Carolina and two students to North Carolina. Another three students said that they were going to visit colleges. Other destinations included Turks and Caicos, Kentucky, Lake Tahoe, Oregon, Seattle, and Phoenix. 

 

Junior Mary V Carnell stated she was traveling to Puerto Rico with her family.  She plans on tanning and visiting the spa while she is there. While she is looking forward to traveling with her family for the first time in a while, they are already planning and taking the necessary precautions before flying out. “My parents have to be tested 72 hours before you arrive in Puerto Rico,” Mary V said. She also reiterated that her family would be wearing masks, wiping down airplane seats, and eating outside.   

 

When asked about the overall student comfort level of those who aren’t traveling, senior Amy Gastright explained, “I think if right now was last year's spring break a lot of people would be jealous and you know, jealousy kind of contorts itself into, ‘Oh my god, you should not go on that spring break trip that's so unsafe.’ But I think at this point that we've been in quarantine or semi quasi quarantine for so long that I mean, like, I'm living vicariously through everyone's social media stories. So I do not think that anyone is going to be terribly concerned.”

 

The CDC states that the precautions for travelers begin even before they embark on the trip. First, the traveler should get the vaccine if they are eligible. Then, the traveler should get a viral COVID test one to three days before traveling. The CDC also preaches the usual precautions such as wearing a mask and staying six feet away from others. Finally after returning from trips, travelers must wait three to five days before getting tested then quarantine for another seven days even if the test returns negative. SSSAS has already planned to revert to all online classes for the week after spring break in order to ensure that all students and staff members have the necessary time to quarantine and guarantee those negative cases in time to return to campus.

 

When asked about her family’s decision to travel to her grandparents’ house in Kentucky, sophomore Emma Lacy explained, “So until recently we were on the fence. But the newest CDC guidelines read that people who have been vaccinated can spend time with people who have not been vaccinated as long as one party has the vaccination. So basically, the guidelines just said that grandparents can spend time with their grandchildren if they’ve been vaccinated. And my grandparents were recently vaccinated. So that was our thought process.” While COVID is still very real, it seems that due to vaccines and eased restrictions, families are beginning to lower their guard and tentatively pick up their plane tickets. 

 

To sum up, Amy Gastright noted her new grateful outlook on traveling, “I think that because of quarantining and how much we've been forced to stay inside and not travel, and not be with our friends that we've really come to appreciate, or at least I've really come to appreciate, the small interactions and big interactions. I've just really come to appreciate everything in life that I'd taken for granted before. So whereas in past years, my spring break trip to, I don't know, Ocean City was, you know, kind of expected. It was like, ‘No surprise, that's just what I do.’ Now it's like, wow, I'm so lucky that I get to do that. And I'm really looking forward to the next time because I'll really appreciate it more than I did.”