PA eases travel restrictions, raising post-spring break COVID fears

Students return from Spring Break on April 6, 2021 – Index Staff

After almost a year of strict COVID protocols, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is in the early stages of lifting some restrictions. On the first day of March, Wolf terminated the “Travel Mitigation” order, allowing Pennsylvania residents to travel with no limits. Despite softening restrictions, Wolf still emphasizes the importance of mask-wearing and good hygiene. 

     The loosened restrictions mean students and faculty may travel to warmer states for spring break. Controversy surrounds the ethics of traveling into other areas of the country and returning with no COVID test or quarantine. Depending on how dangerous one deems the Coronavirus will likely influence one’s opinion on travel safety.

     “I believe as the weather gets warmer, spring break travel should be allowed for Haverford students,” Sixth Former Matt Carlino said. “However, considering the fact that other students could be returning to school without a negative COVID test does give me some concern.”

     The school will follow state guidelines, which means students and faculty will not need to provide a negative test or quarantine when returning from another state. Even though the test is not mandatory, Haverford is still taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. 

     “The school continues to believe that the safest choice is to remain home and avoid travel, and as such, we are recommending that students/faculty do not travel over spring break,” Upper School Head Mr. Mark Fifer said.

“Traveling for the break should be permitted, but [students] should only return to in-person classes with a negative COVID test.”

Matt Carlino ’21

     Some students may opt to ignore the school’s advice. Pennsylvania residents can travel with no restrictions, so students and faculty may spend their upcoming spring break outside the state. With no mandatory COVID test, some students will take extra safety measures to ensure they remain COVID-free. 

     “Traveling for the break should be permitted, but [students] should only return to in-person classes with a negative COVID test,” Carlino said.

     Some students will take matters into their own hands and take a COVID test before coming to school. This extra step would hopefully prevent future outbreaks. Along with a negative COVID test, some students wish to see other students quarantine upon returning to Pennsylvania. 

     “Haverford students returning from spring break should probably take a week off before coming back to school or should get tested for COVID,” Sixth Former Edward Trumpbour said.

     Neither Pennsylvania nor Haverford will enforce COVID tests or quarantine, so every student has the freedom to choose how they would like to spend their spring break. 

     In a March 1 press release, Governor Wolf said, “We need to balance protecting public health with leading the state to a robust economic recovery.”