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By Zachary Smith-Tulino

CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College students are still finding ways to enjoy their holiday with family even if new pandemic protocols make gathering difficult. These students have many ways of approaching this holiday season.

William Bartley, a student-athlete at Camden County College, had to change his usual plans for Thanksgiving this year.

“This year, since my mother’s immediate family is small, we decided to have my grandparents come up from Virginia to spend the holidays with us,” Bartley said. “We usually have a lot of people come over on Christmas to exchange presents but with COVID-19 that might not happen.”

William Bartley and his mother, Shannon DiPaolo, take a selfie in front of their Christmas tree. Photo by Shannon DiPaolo

Bartley stated, “Family is important to us, so Thanksgiving is a holiday we take pride in. We usually all meet up and celebrate with each other at our church but this year with the restrictions we couldn’t keep the tradition going.”

About the protocols that discourage gatherings because of COVID-19, he added, “With the restrictions, it took away the opportunity for my family to be together, which is understandable because my family and I want to make sure everyone is healthy. It just sucks, though, because sometimes that is the only time we can see certain family members.”

Another student whose holiday plans were affected by the protocols is Patrick Nallen.

“I had dinner with my immediate family. It was very low key. We almost ordered Chinese food but my mom decided to make turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and it almost felt like a normal Thanksgiving,” Nallen said. “I think our Christmas is going to be very similar to this as well.”

Patrick Nallen’s dog, Sophie, runs around the house after returning from a walk with the family. Photo by Patrick Nallen

Nallen stated, “Things were different this year. We usually travel or my family comes to our house but it was only my immediate family this year. We did not want to take any chances.”

Arber Llugani also said the pandemic changed how he marked Thanksgiving this year.

Arber Llugani perfects his squat in his home gym. Photo by Arber Llugani

The student celebrates Thanksgiving but does not celebrate Christmas; nonetheless, he said this year differs from other years. “Thanksgiving is a day where most of my family members come together and have dinner. Most of the time my mother will invite people over but this year we did not invite anyone over because of COVID-19. Although, afterwards, I will usually do some form of exercising, whether it be lifting weights or boxing.”

For more information about holiday celebrations and gatherings this year, read:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/covid-19-holiday-safety-tips/art-20503363

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