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Holiday Travel

The coronavirus has altered many aspects of life during the past year. That reigns true for holiday travel, as many people opted to stay home for the holidays, or at a minimum, avoid public transportation, to join their families for the holidays.

Planes and buses are usually packed this time of year, when students all pile out of Happy Valley to celebrate with loved ones. This year, for the most part, that was not the case.

Many opted to drive home rather than take public transportation, leaving airports and bus terminals quiet. How quiet? According to the TSA website’s checkpoint numbers, the week of Christmas averaged over two million travelers a day in 2019. This year, most days were less than half of that total, with only five days since December fifteenth crossing a million travelers.

Those figures adhere to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Doctor Rachel Levine’s call for PA residents to remain home for the holidays.

“We have to stay the course, and avoid large and small gatherings, and to stay at home, and to be with our families remotely, even though I know that is a tremendous sacrifice,” Dr. Levine said. “but, thats what we need to do to stop the spread and make sure that we don’t have another rebound in January due to the holidays.”

For full time PA residents, hunkering down may be difficult but it is doable. For many of the Penn State students whose permanent residence is out of state, it is a complicated situation. Blake Albright is one of those students, who lives just outside of St. Louis. He admitted driving is a safer way to travel than flying, but he said that was his only logical choice.

“Driving as a form of transportation is much safer than flying just because of the proximity to people, when you’re driving you’re alone,” Albright said. For me however, that was just unreasonable because I live thirteen hours away.”

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