With the upcoming holiday season on the horizon, students and faculty at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) are being challenged to alter their annual traditions. Due to COVID-19, visiting extended family by traveling cross-country, or even across a town line, has become controversial and possibly dangerous.
While various aspects of Thanksgiving—from grocery shopping to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—are going to differ from past years in hope of mitigating the Coronavirus, students and teachers are finding alternative ways to celebrate in order to keep it meaningful.
Senior Sophie Nevin typically drives out of state to visit extended family every other Thanksgiving, but this year she’ll be staying home. “It makes me sad [to not celebrate with these family members], because we only do it every other year,” she said, “so I don’t usually get to go and visit them. I’m kind of upset that I’m missing out on it.”
Sophomore Teagan Myers spends Christmas with his grandmother every other year, but the only way to see her now is through a screen. “[My family and I] Facetime my Grammie a lot, so that’s how I’ll be keeping in touch with her this year,” he said.
Junior Lila Mikos takes a more old-fashioned approach to connect with her grandparents throughout the year, which she’ll continue through the holidays. “I love to write letters to my grandparents,” she said. “I feel like they never get mail like that anymore. I’ll probably write a letter to them and send them a little gift that has to do with Thanksgiving.”
Others, however, have been struggling with their inability to see family in person. English department chair Christine Ferrone feels as though talking through a screen just isn’t the same. “When you are Zooming with a bunch of people, it’s hard to have intimate or meaningful conversations, and at times it can be awkward,” she said. “I think what I’ll do is call individual family members, so we can be attentive to each other as opposed to being on a big Zoom with everyone.”
One positive to staying home for the holidays is avoiding the exhaustion that often accompanies traveling and time spent with extended family. History teacher Leigh Fairchild-Coppoletti said, “For Thanksgiving, we usually keep it pretty simple and stay here on the Island. It’s a nice time to spend with immediate family and have a quiet, thankful, and restful experience.”