The University of Pittsburgh recently published an article on the school’s website titled “What Pittsburgh students need to know before Thanksgiving break.”
The Nov. 17 article breaks down topics about Thanksgiving activities, what to do if you plan on staying on campus, and how to continue being COVID cautious over the holiday season.
Under the COVID-related section of the Nov. 17 article, titled “Time off from school doesn’t mean time off from COVID-19 safety measures,” the school openly urges students to “avoid” being inside around unvaccinated people.
“Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office encourages everyone to avoid high-risk activities as much as possible, such as spending time indoors unmasked with anyone symptomatic or unvaccinated or gathering in large, unmasked groups,” the article reads.
According to the article, vaccinated students are all set to enjoy their time with family and friends, unless they are unmasked or unvaccinated, of course. However, vaccinated Pittsburgh students must still take precautions.
“If you are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, there is no need to test before and after traveling, but please remember to comply with all other mitigation measures, including masking at all times in transit and maintaining good hand hygiene.”
Unvaccinated students must take extra precautions on top of wearing masks and washing their hands, which includes submitting a negative COVID test over the holiday break.
Similarly, the University of Southern California issued their own tips for staying safe during the holidays in regard to COVID-19. Booster shots are encouraged for residents to “prevent a possible winter surge in COVID-19 cases.” The statement also recommends students who are vaccinated continue to wear masks in public.
A University of Pittsburgh spokesperson told Campus Reform that the message “clearly states, the University wants everyone in the Pitt community to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.”
When asked to further expand on the university’s stances on attending large gatherings and requiring COVID testing over the break, the spokesperson said, “the University has no further comment.”
Zach Kiesendahl, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, believes the university “contradicts itself” with all of the COVID rules and information they push on students.
“PITT contradicts itself when they tell students to get vaccinated, which they should have done months ago, and then they tell people to not be around unvaccinated people,” Ziesendahl told Campus Reform. “When you do that, you’re basically showing people that the vaccine doesn’t work.”
Separate from his feelings on the vaccine, Ziesendahl expressed confusion about what he saw as the university’s effort to minimize this year’s Thanksgiving celebration.
“When you tell people to not see unvaccinated people, it confuses me. Isn’t the whole point of the vaccine to let you do things like normal again?”
He told Campus Reform that “the statement just doesn’t make sense.”
Darren Geissler, another PITT student, also understands why the university put out a message like this, but does not believe it will be effective.
“I see why they would say that, but it seems pointless because students are going to meet up anyways and people don’t really care enough anymore,” Geissler told Campus Reform.
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Southern California for comment. A representative made the following statement, “We don’t have anything to add beyond the information the university shared in the USC News article.”