Holiday Celebration Amidst COVID-19

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As we enter the holiday season, I want to remind you of the need to remain vigilant in your efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important for you to remember that we remain guided by two essential priorities:

  • to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of our students, staff and faculty; and
  • to enable our students to progress toward their/your educational goals.

With these goals in mind, I urge you to keep safety in mind as you plan your holiday activities. We must all understand that our individual behavior will determine how well we manage the spread of the virus. Keep your gatherings small, be diligent about physical distancing and wear a face mask when in close quarters with others.

When attending or hosting holiday activities, please assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone or cancel the event or to limit the number of attendees.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have prepared a list of recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19 at holiday-related gatherings. These recommendations include specific considerations tailored to Halloween, Día de los Muertos and Thanksgiving.

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for spreading viruses. Some of the CDC’s many alternative ways to celebrate Halloween include:

  • Carving, painting or decorating pumpkins with indoors with members of your household, or outdoors with neighbors or friends while observing guidelines for mask usage and social distancing.
  • Virtual costume contests.
  • Hosting a Halloween movie night with people you live with. Several popular streaming services now offer watch party features as well, allowing people in different locations to enjoy streaming video together.
  • Holding a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt with your household members in or around your home, rather than going house to house.

Likewise, here are some low-risk ideas from the CDC on ways to safely celebrate Día de los Muertos.

  • Prepare traditional family recipes for your family.
  • Play music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed.
  • Make and decorate masks, make an altar, or set out pillows and blankets for the deceased.
  • Join a virtual get-together celebration.

Through your actions, you can slow the spread of COVID-19 in your own homes and in our community. Each and every one of us has a role to play in ensuring the health and safety of others in our campus community. I ask that you look out for and care for each other and change the environment around you. Follow these simple guidelines.

  • Stay socially connected, but six feet physically apart from others.
  • Wear a mask — #MaskUpBemidji
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.

FOR STUDENTS

I remind you to use the COVID-19 Hotline (218-755-2901) if you have tested positive, have been in contact with someone else who has tested positive, or if you have questions about an exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19. This is critical in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

FOR EMPLOYEES

I remind you to contact Carol Hess in Human Resources (218-755-2445, carol.hess@bemidjistate.edu) if you have tested positive, if you have been in contact with someone else who has tested positive, or if you have questions about exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19. This is critical in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Thanks for everything you are doing to protect the members of our campus community and our neighbors in Bemidji. Stay safe, be well, mask up and stay 6 feet apart.