BC’s provincial health officer has extended the ban on social gatherings until midnight of January 8; but, students and staff at Riverside Secondary continue to celebrate the holidays in a safe way. “I think Dr. Bonnie Henry should’ve made group gatherings smaller earlier on during quarantine and minimalized in-class school days. More could’ve been done in order for there to be larger holiday gatherings,” said Nicole Phillips, a grade 11 student at Riverside Secondary.

Mr. Thies and Nicole Phillips have made alternate Christmas plans.

Restrictions for the holidays include: suspended events and social gatherings include: seasonal activities, including indoor and outdoor holiday events (with the exception of drive-in and drop-off events), musical or theatre performances, galas, silent auctions, movie viewings in cinemas. Without these social gatherings, it is difficult for friends, families and to celebrate the holidays alone.

Jordan Thies, a teacher at Riverside Secondary shared how he will be celebrating the holiday’s this December despite the group gathering bans. He mentioned that his mother and mother-in-law both take care of his children. Therefore, they are in his bubble and will be celebrating once with his mother and another day with his mother-in-law. “we just adapt, it won’t be my whole family around the same table,” said Thies.

Jordan Thies also mentioned how he will take precautions he is taking to keep himself and his family safe this winter. “We will have a very small Christmas gathering, we will be eating in separate areas and we do try and stay outside as much as possible with a lot of airflow,” said Thies.

Even though there are many activities that are banned this holiday season, there are many safe events such as PNE WinterLights, outdoor winter activities: skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing. Other COVID-19 safe at home activities include zoom and facetime calls, board games, Teleparty (Netflix Party) movie nights and many more.

Alexis Forson, a grade 11 Riverside student issued her strong opinion on holiday restrictions early Tuesday morning on December 15, 2020.  “I think Bonnie Henry should’ve taken us out of school and made us stay home a long time ago, because now we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas like normal. We could’ve taken more precaution, have had less cases and had a proper Christmas,” said Forson.

Robbie Toor, a grade 11 student at Riverside secondary commented that the COVID-19 restrictions on large groups reduces COVID-19 numbers, and believes that this is a good thing. “This Christmas I will be hanging out with close family members that live in my household. Instead of hanging out with my grandparents, I will be celebrating a small dinner at home,” said Toor.