TEMPE, AZ — The hugs. The kisses. The tears of joy. All part of the anticipation of walking through the front door and seeing your family on Thanksgiving after months apart.
However, because of the substantial rise in COVID-19 cases in Arizona and across the country, at least one student at Arizona State University has had to postpone her plans.
“For me, it's been a really difficult year,” said Emma VandenEinde, a senior at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
She's from rural Minnesota, a small town where family connections and relationships are important. It was really important for her to be home for Thanksgiving this year.
“My grandpa passed away in September,” she said. "...with that happening, Thanksgiving has a lot more weight on it this year.”
Like Arizona, COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are rising to dangerously high levels.
As she was planning her trip home, Emma’s parents told her to wait.
“I got on the phone with my dad and he kind of dissuaded me. He was like, 'Emma there’s 7,000 cases in Minnesota. There’s so many cases here (in Arizona). So why don’t you wait?'" VandenEinde said. "That way you’re not bringing anything home.”
While that all-important homecoming will have to wait a few weeks, others have sent her dinner invites to spend the holiday with their families. But, amid COVID-19, those invites come with a new set of rules.
“It’s all about the race to get a negative test," she said.
“I have one of my good friends,” she says, “she invited me over and I said yes. But I’m still waiting for her mom’s and sister’s test to come back.”