Courtesy of Morgan State University
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge throughout the country, many people are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving without their loved ones. But for Stanley Nwakamma, Morgan State’s student regent, this year will be his fourth holiday season without his family.
Nwakamma, a Nigerian native, said although he’s been without his family since 2017, this Thanksgiving will be the most challenging for him.
“I miss them and wish I could be home,” he said. “But with this Thanksgiving, with the whole restrictions and all of that, it’s even harder because you can’t go to friends’ houses or relatives,” said Nwakamma, a senior electrical and computer engineering major.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised people not to host large gatherings or travel for the holiday. So although Morgan is allowing on-campus residents to travel for the holiday break, the administration is encouraging those who leave campus to not return for the remainder of the semester.
With approximately three weeks left in the fall semester, Kevin Banks, the vice president of student affairs, said students who travel home for Thanksgiving must quarantine for 14 days upon their return and schedule a COVID-19 testing date to assure they do not have the virus when they return to campus.
“We’re encouraging them if they go home, they should stay home,” Banks said. “Take everything they can to stay home so that they can be in quarantine mode for the Christmas holidays.”
In an effort to cater to the students who will be residing on campus during the holiday break, SodexoMagic, Morgan’s food vendor, plans to serve a Thanksgiving meal for students on Thursday.
SodexoMagic General Manager Mitchell Oliver said he understands this holiday season will be out of the ordinary for many and as a result, he’s made an effort to make Thanksgiving as normal as possible.
“Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving,” Oliver said. “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if you didn’t have the traditional turkey, but we’re going to modify it just a bit.”
On Thursday, students will have the option to order brunch and dinner consisting of roast turkey, pineapple glazed ham, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and several types of flavored pie.
With the rise in COVID-19 cases, students are not allowed to dine in the Rawlings Dining Hall. But they will be able to pick up brunch to-go between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and dinner to-go between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Although Nwakamma will miss his family this year, he said he appreciates the university’s effort to accommodate the students on campus that are unable to travel for the holiday and give them a taste of the holiday.
“All of the people on campus right now are people that have extenuating circumstances who don’t have a place to go or they don’t have housing security or food security—so that’s why they’re on campus,” Nwakamma said. “So, for Morgan to have a plan to have a Thanksgiving meal for them, it’s very good.”
For the last three years, Nwakamma has celebrated Thanksgiving with his friends and family that reside in the United States. This year, he plans on spending his holiday with a small group of friends he met at Morgan.
“We’re going to have a Thanksgiving dinner and we’re all keeping it within the circle with no outside invitation,” he said.