NHHS Students home for holidays; Covid-19 Restrictions limit out of state travel


     The upcoming holiday season looks very different in 2020. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise daily, many protocols have been implemented to stop the spread. Out of state travel has been highly discouraged by Governor Hogan and state health officials. At North Harford High School, 86% of 215 students surveyed are spending their holidays at home. The other 14% are planning to travel. 

     Junior Lahela Thomas is traveling to Florida for the holidays. Her family was originally supposed to take a cruise to Hawaii. However, it was canceled this summer due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Now they’re traveling to Disney since “things are opening up again and [her] grandparents like to take [Thomas] and [her] sister somewhere every year.” According to Thomas, her family typically spends their holidays at Disney. 

     Other students prefer to stay local for Christmas. Senior Abigail Merson’s family has decided to stay local because “[they] want to stay safe and follow the Covid-19 restrictions as much as possible.” For Thanksgiving, Merson stayed in Harford County and celebrated with her immediate family instead of traveling to her aunt and uncle’s house in Carroll County. According to Merson, this saved on travel time and helped reduce the spread of Covid. 

      Sophomore Riley Stewart has a similar plan for how to spend her holidays. She shares that she’s staying home this year because “Covid is going on and [she] has a lot of family members who are at high risk for getting Covid, so we are just going to have a family dinner.” They also plan to open gifts while FaceTiming their extended families. Stewart’s family will still be able to talk and celebrate together virtually.

     Juniors Jessica Dudok and Teagan Flaherty typically stay home for the holidays. “We always host Christmas so our family always comes to us,” Dudok explains. Similarly, Flaherty states, “We never really travel for Christmas anyways and usually stay home.” She’s also decided to stay home because some of her family members are at a higher risk for Covid so “it’s safer to just stay home.”

     Another student spending her holidays at home is Sophomore Julia Eakes. Eakes and her family normally visit her grandparents and cousins in Virginia between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. “This year we aren’t going because we don’t want to possibly expose my grandparents to Covid,” she shares. Eakes says it’s “always a big gathering” and her family would rather be safe and just FaceTime instead of posing a health risk to each other.

     Sophomores Reilly Holmstrom and Piper Wright are also staying local. “I’m staying home because my grandparents are old and very nervous about getting Covid,” Holmstrom explains. She says she does plan on seeing a few friends over the holidays since “they’re at less of a risk.” Wright says her family never goes anywhere because her family lives very close to one another. “It’s never like a big gathering so we are all staying safe and following Covid guidelines,” she shares. 

    In addition, Junior Kayla Smith typically doesn’t travel for the holidays. “My family tradition for Christmas is to go to both of my grandparents’ houses to see our family,” Smith says.