TEMPE, Ariz. - Thanksgiving is just days away as the US and the rest of the world continue to battle a deadly pandemic, and it's especially a big holiday for college students because it's a time when they travel back home to see loved ones.
But, this year, that's changed for many students.
All major universities in Arizona have decided that classes will resume virtually after Thanksgiving after a trial period of in-person learning didn't go as expected with COVID-19 cases popping up on campuses.
The decision was also made to reduce travel and in-person interaction among students, faculty and staff.
"I have to spend Thanksgiving alone without my family for the first time. So, it’s very difficult," said student Nina Garcia.
It was supposed to be Garcia‘s first time going back home for Thanksgiving, but the nursing student isn’t taking any chances.
"It really messed up my plans. I had already booked to go to El Paso but after my dad contracted it, and my mom, so I decided not to go especially with all of the cases that they have right now. It’s best for me and anyone around me so I didn’t continue to spread it," she said.
Although some students are staying back and not seeing family this holiday, some are still taking the chance.
"I live here in Arizona. I don’t live that far. It doesn’t change my plans. I just plan on living here," said student, Becky Almanza.
Others aren't too worried about traveling, saying the university does daily COVID-19 checks.
With Arizona seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, major universities in Arizona are not allowing students to return after Thanksgiving as classes will be virtual at least until the Spring semester.