Texas Tech is transitioning to online classes after Thanksgiving break due to COVID-19 concerns. The change impacts students’ travel plans and their Thanksgiving traditions in different ways.

Gabe Lopez, a senior community family and addiction sciences major from Lubbock, said he will take his finals from his apartment for school because it is easier to focus and more comfortable.

COVID-19 has altered his family’s plans for Thanksgiving to ensure the well-being of their family members, Lopez said. Instead of gathering with the whole family, it is just going to be him and his immediate family.

This year, they have to limit the number of people attending at their house for Thanksgiving, Lopez said.

“It’s only a little different from previous years,” Lopez said. “It has just changed the number of people that actually come or are in one specific room.”

For Thanksgiving this year, his family has to be careful about who is invited to dinner, Lopez said. His family also has to be mindful of how healthy everyone is before gathering for Thanksgiving.

Although he is looking forward to the break, the restrictions on gatherings for Thanksgiving make the time feel less special, and it is like they are scheduling an appointment, Lopez said.

“Because of the time we are in, it just kind of feels like nothing is at an equilibrium,” Lopez said. “Nothing feels the same this year.”

He does not have many COVID-19 concerns about seeing his family since he lives in Lubbock and has already visited them, Lopez said.

Paola Rivera, a senior biochemistry major from Houston, said she plans on taking her finals from home instead of traveling back to Lubbock after Thanksgiving.

“Since everything after Thanksgiving is going to be online, I’m just going to stay home,” Rivera said.

Although she is looking forward to not having to travel back to Lubbock so quickly after Thanksgiving break, Rivera is worried about how easy it will be to focus on school from home, she said.

She is not concerned about traveling home for Thanksgiving, but she is worried about the possibility of bringing COVID-19 home to her parents, Rivera said.

“I feel like I have been kind of careful, so I’m not too concerned,” Rivera said. “But, of course, I still have the doubt of going home and giving COVID to my parents.”

Rivera expects her Thanksgiving break to be similar to previous ones, she said. The main difference will be not seeing her friends from her hometown.

“Usually all of my friends who will be back home from college and I would all get together and see each other,” Rivera said. “But I don’t think I will be doing that over this break.”

Luis Shelton, a senior computer science major from Houston, said he will take his finals from home because he does not want to travel back after Thanksgiving.

Shelton does not have concerns about traveling home for Thanksgiving break, he said.

“My family is generally aware of COVID, but they don’t worry too much about it,” Shelton said. “They like it when I come home, so I don’t think they are worried about me because they would rather have me home.” 

His family’s Thanksgiving plans are the same this year as it has been in the past, Shelton said.

They usually have all of their family come to their house to celebrate the holiday, and they still plan on hosting them, Shelton said. His family is still going to have their big dinner and watch football together.

Tech will continue free COVID-19 testing on-campus through Dec. 9 for students interested in being tested before or after traveling for Thanksgiving, according to an email from Tech President Lawrence Schovanec.

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