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SHU reflects on Thanksgiving during pandemic

With Thanksgiving coming later this week, Seton Hall students have been traveling home in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. While many students look forward to this holiday and time of year, the pandemic has caused many aspects of Thanksgiving to change.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press conference on Nov. 16,the state’s government is “urging everyone to keep their Thanksgiving plans as small as possible” since “indoor gatherings and homes are particularly dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also urged citizens to stay home this Thanksgiving. Instead of gathering in person, the CDC advised families to see each other in alternative ways, such as a Zoom call. For those who do hold gatherings, the CDC recommends doing so in an outdoor setting with social distancing guidelines enforced.

Emily Balda, a freshman biology major, shared her family’s Thanksgiving plans for this year.

“We usually do Thanksgiving with just my family and our elderly neighbor, but because of the pandemic, we can’t see her, and she has no other family,” Balda said. “It’s really hard because our neighborhood took her in as family, but it’s too risky for her to see people at this point.”  

Balda also expressed her concerns with coming home for Thanksgiving.

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“It’s scary to go home to see the rest of my family who haven’t had COVID-19 and have to worry,” Balda said. 

Seton Hall students must celebrate Thanksgiving differently this year due to the pandemic.

Anna Soltys, a freshman biology major, said she has a family where Thanksgiving is a big tradition. 

“My family hosts Thanksgiving every year, and it’s one of my favorite holidays because everyone is home from school, and we can see each other,” Soltys said. “We’re lucky to still have a small Thanksgiving, but unfortunately we are not going to be joined by everyone.” 

Aside from family gatherings and friend reunions over the break, Black Friday is another upcoming event, which entails massive crowds of people shopping all at once. According to Forbes Magazine, 51 million Americans shopped in stores on Black Friday last year.  

Joshua Smith, a freshman business major, said he is an employee at the American Eagle at his local mall and gave his own insight into this year’s Black Friday.

“Assuming everything stays clear this next week, Black Friday will be a successful event as long as everyone follows COVID-19 guidelines and is respectful to one another,” Smith said. “For me, personally, I know that I will be the one enforcing these guidelines and being responsible to keep my place of work safe.”

 Alexa Toohey can be reached at


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