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Spring Break During COVID-19

Published on Mar. 24, 2021

How to Stay Safe Without Sacrificing Fun

Planning to travel somewhere for spring break? Vacationing somewhere new can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19 – so if you do choose to travel, you'll want to take extra precautions, both during your travel time and at your chosen destination.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trending up in our northern Michigan communities (and the expectation that spring break travel will increase COVID-19 cases) now is the time to keep your guard up, despite any spring fever you may be feeling. 

Before You Leave

Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

If you are eligible, get vaccinated. Do keep in mind that two of the three available COVID-19 vaccines require two-doses, timed 3-4 weeks apart to be fully effective. Your body also needs approximately two weeks to build immunity following any variation of the COVID-19 vaccine, so unless you've received your final dose or one-dose vaccine two weeks before your vacation, you can't count on your vaccine as a form of protection. 

Get Tested

Thanks to viral PCR tests conducted via a nasal or throat swab, you can easily and quickly find out whether you're positive for COVID-19. Contact your Primary Care Provider and let him/her know about your plans to travel and your desire to test for COVID-19. You should take the test approximately 1-3 days before leaving for your destination, even if you don't feel ill. "This helps ensure you aren't an asymptomatic carrier or early on in the illness,” says Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare's Chief Medical Officer.

If you do test positive, or you've knowingly been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, make immediate arrangements to postpone your trip until you're feeling better and/or you no longer positive. Traveling during a time when you could become severely ill and even require hospitalization is never a good idea. And even if you never experience symptoms, you still risk spreading COVID-19 to others.

Pack COVID-19 Supplies

It's easier to lose or misplace things when we're out of our element and normal routines. For this reason, add extra masks and hand sanitizer to your packing list so you have plenty of COVID-19 protection if and when you need it. Consider dividing these supplies evenly among your luggage so if you lose a suitcase, you still have access to clean masks and a go-to hand cleansing option. Remember to choose hand sanitizer with 60 percent or more alcohol. 

Masks are required for public transportation, including airplanes, so make sure you have a clean mask handy for you and your loved ones while flying, traveling by bus or train, and taking a taxi to your resort. Don't forget the importance of handwashing, and if you can't access soap and water at the moment, rubbing hand sanitizer thoroughly over your hands until dry will do the trick. 

On Vacation

Maintain Separate Vacation Households

Vacationing with family or loved ones outside your immediate household? Stay in separate hotel rooms or rentals to reduce your chances of spreading COVID-19 to each other. Take your mutual activities and meals outdoors as much as possible so you can socially distance while enjoying each other's company. If you do spend time together indoors, wear a mask if you can’t socially distance at least six feet apart or more (approximately two arms' length).

Don't Forget Your Mask

Regardless of your destination and its rules about masking, the CDC advises wearing a mask over both your mouth and nose when you're in public. Don't let your guard down even if others around you are choosing not to practice this same trusted guideline for avoiding COVID-19. Frequent handwashing is just as important: remember to wash or sanitize your hands before eating and after you've been out in public. Be extra vigilant about not touching your face (including applying sunscreen and wiping away sweat) without first washing your hands or using sanitizer. 

Avoid Crowded Areas

Many popular spring break destinations like Florida tend to draw large crowds, all seeking the same types of fun-in-the-sun activities: beach time, amusement/adventure parks, yummy meals, souvenir shopping, and more. These same activities can make socially distancing yourself six feet or more quite challenging. 

This year is the ideal time to rethink your family's spring break mindset. If you have a tendency to turn your vacation into an activity-filled marathon so you can experience all the popular destinations, focus more on relaxation and quality time. Consider having a family meeting about the importance of just spending time together – and staying safe. 

Plan activities that keep you safely distanced from others, such as:

  • Seeking less popular beaches (or a more remote part of the beach)
  • Lawn games like badminton, catch, or bean bag toss
  • Bike riding, kayaking, or golf
  • Home-based meals (think carryout or cooking your own meals with fresh local produce and flavors)
  • If shopping is a must, avoid stores that don't require masks – or master the art of window browsing.

Beat the Mask Blues

Wearing your masks may feel more challenging if you're traveling to a warmer climate. To avoid the temptation to let your mask wander its way off your nose, consider the best times to be out and about in public when it's not as hot (typically mornings and evenings). Plan naps, movies, or family board games during the hottest time of the day – usually around 3 pm – when exploring your vacation spot in a mask may feel less comfortable and/or lead to discontent among kiddos or grandparents accompanying you.  

Back Home

Get Retested

Get tested approximately three to five days after your trip to make sure you don't test positive for COVID-19. Even if your test is negative, please stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days after traveling to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19 to others. If you choose not to get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for a full 10 days following travel.

COVID-19 could begin surging again, so wherever you’re spending spring break, it’s important to keep your guard up. Learn all the ways to Avoid COVID-19 Today (ACT) and get the latest COVID-19 updates