Dorms to remain open for Thanksgiving Break


Phoebe Radke

Boarding students at Masters will have the opportunity to spend their week-long Thanksgiving Break in the dorms on campus this year.

As the first quarter of the 21-22 school year ends, the Thanksgiving break is also approaching. Normally, the campus would close during Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks. However this year, due to the lasting impact of the pandemic, flights back home for international students are especially rare, which poses a dilemma for the new International students who have not established an intimate relationship with their U.S. guardians and do not have the option to return home. Therefore, the school decided to open the campus during Thanksgiving break in consideration of these issues, and unlike in the past, it is free of charge. 

Although the quarantine policy differs by country, the majority of the countries international students come from require passengers from the United States to be quarantined. According to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China, all passengers who fly from the United States to China are required to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days in government-assigned hotels. 

Thanksgiving break is only one week, which makes this quarantining period unfeasible. In addition, some of the new international students feel anxious about having to live with their guardians, whom they are not frequently in contact with, and having to travel via public transportation with a risk of being exposed to the virus. Sophomore Jessie Xie talks about her difficulty in finding an accommodation for Thanksgiving. “I don’t have any close guardians in America except my sister who is attending university in California, so it will be really inconvenient if the school doesn’t open the dorms.” Therefore, considering the difficulties for international students to travel back home and the commute to different places that might expose them to viruses, the school decided to make an exception and open the campus for seven-day boarders. 

Robert Fish, the Dean of Global Studies, said, “It is just impossible to go home during this particular year for seven-day boarders from certain countries because of the quarantine policy, so by opening the campus, we are just trying to give a little bit of help, especially for students who are new this year and haven’t developed the relationships that make it easier to be off-campus.” 

Although it is difficult for the school to not only ensure students’ safety but also make the Thanksgiving holiday enjoyable and relaxing, they are trying their best to organize trips and fun activities for students who will stay on campus. Having to constantly walk around the dorms and be on guard for emergency issues, staff on duty during the break will largely compromise their free time for readjustment from the busy first two months of school. Thus, the faculty is dedicating a lot of time to ensure students’ welfare. 

Jayde Bennett, the Director of Residential Life, has been working closely with the maintenance and facility departments to prepare for the upcoming break. They said, “We are finding a balance between wanting to give faculty a break, but also to fulfill the promises that we made to student families, so it is a tough process.” 

During the break, although the dining hall will not be open, the school will make sure that meals are served either through cooking in the dorm kitchen or driving students off campus to get some food. The housing will also be arranged differently: students might not be able to stay in their current dorm room.  Instead, only two dorms will be open–one to accommodate female-identifying and  one for male-identifying students respectively. 

Xie said, “I’m very grateful for the school’s decision on opening the dorms and the staff members who will stay on campus during Thanksgiving, because even though it is a lot of work to have to take care of us, they are still willing to support.”