CARTOON: Happy spring break.

We are days away from spring break, a much needed one in this columnist’s opinion. However, before we hit the beaches or the pools to suntan we must address the elephant in the room: the coronavirus. Though some have made light of the situation, some of us will be traveling to areas that have reported cases.

Earlier this week, the Red Raider family received a letter from President Schovanec saying the university will be canceling all spring break trips that were sponsored by the university. Personal travel, either domestic and international travel was also discouraged. 

I applaud President  Schovanec for taking this course of action to help protect the Tech community and the students’ personal wellbeing. While I know that students won’t cancel their plans to go see friends and family just because President Schovanec asks them, I ask them to take special precautions.

Our Red Raider family is diverse and we come from many different areas, not only from around the United States but also from around the world. For those going to see their families both here in the U.S. or in other countries, I ask you, dear readers, to heed the State Department travel warnings and the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to better protect yourself.

According to the CDC website, the following states and territories have not reported any cases of Coronavirus: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Delaware, Guam, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Washington, New York and California all have over a hundred confirmed cases reported and vacationers should exercise caution when visiting those locations. 

For those visiting cities in Texas, know that there are only thirteen cases confirmed by the CDC here. The Texas Department of State Health Services states only Collin, Fort Bend and Harris Counties have confirmed cases. This information was current at the time of writing. For more information, see the CDC and the Texas DSHS website.

For those going out of the country, know that China and Iran have Level Four- Do Not Travel Advisories by the State Department. Italy, South Korea, Mongolia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have Level Three- Reconsider Travel Advisories at the time of writing this column. If you are coming back from an area heavily affected and have a travel advisory of level three or above are required to self-isolate for fourteen days. 

If this information is pertinent to you, then report to the Office of International Affairs for Texas Tech. They will help coordinate your return and self-isolation. See President Schovanec’s letter to the university for more information.

According to the CDC, when traveling to these areas over the break, the best methods to prevent contracting the virus are the following: wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, clean surfaces that are used daily and avoid close contact with others. While it will be hard to remember to constantly do these things while you are having fun, I urge you to practice these prevention methods as best as you can. 

Spring break in college is a time to make memories that will last a lifetime. Hanging out with friends by the poolside, going out to eat with family and taking a much needed break from lectures and homework is what spring break is all about. 

If you are one of the few students, myself included, staying in Lubbock, then I recommend reading my fellow opinions columnist, Angela Contreras’ opinion on things to do in Lubbock over the break. 

This year, we just have to be mindful of the current situation that is going on. Protect yourself and those around you from getting sick. Also, to those who are of age, please be responsible when consuming alcoholic beverages. Go have fun and make some amazing memories, have an amazing spring break.


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