As students across the Boston area begin February vacation week, school district officials are sounding the alarm about growing fears over the pandemic.
Health and local officials worry increased social activity during the week could cause COVID-19 cases to rise, particularly days after Super Bowl related activity could have potentially caused a spread in the coronavirus.
The CDC as well as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are still advising people not to travel.
The department is encouraging school districts and leaders to remind staff and students to follow best practices which include, limiting the size of gatherings to people you live with or to small groups you’re in regular contact this; avoiding travel; and abiding by Massachusetts travel orders if you do travel.
“Ten days to two weeks after February vacation spring break where more than likely going to see a bump similar to what we saw over the holidays and New Years,” Dr. Michael Misialek, Newton Wellesley Hospital.
Travel experts say many people are heeding the warnings though some have decided to head out of town.
“I think the reason I feel safe is that I had a mild case of COVID over the holidays so I have this window of immunity apparently I’m still going to take precautions ,” said Lynn Santalucia.
“I don’t think it’s reckless. We’re still being super cautious,” she said.
Some snow birds are also escaping the cold temperatures and flying south to Florida for the winter.
For the most part, the majority of people are planning for next year’s vacation said Bruce Berger of Cleveland Circle Travel.
“That’s actually a lot of what we’re seeing," he said. "Booking a lot next Christmas, next school vacation week in February 2022.”
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The ongoing pandemic is forcing families to rethink their February winter breaks. Families still want to do something but the options are definitely limited as they try to stay safe.
The first day of school vacation Monday saw a busy Nashoba Valley, where one family said last year they were skiing in Canada, but this year, because of the pandemic, they stayed local.
Families still want some much-needed rest and relaxation over break, so they put in the extra planning effort. Parents says vacation used to be easy, but this year it's harder to find fun family activities that feel safe.
Fun seems to be harder to come by this winter as are indoor activities, and this week’s lousy weather will only serve to limit outdoors choices, making places like the Acton Bowladrome a dry alternative.
This vacation comes at critical point, during what has been a difficult school year, tough for kids and parents walking around in circles, learning and working from home.