Health officials urge residents to change holiday plans due to COVID-19

The University of Chicago says the business school learned that within the last week a large group of full-time MBA students congregated off campus and many did not wear masks.

Some people from that group have since tested positive for COVID-19. More than 100 MBA students will need to quarantine for 14 days.

As a precautionary measure, the university says for the next two weeks, Booth's downtown and Hyde Park locations will be closed and all classes will move to full remote learning.

This kind of large gathering is what public health officials urge people to avoid. On Wednesday, they shared some guidance as the holidays approach.

“The safest way to celebrate with members of your household is to connect with people outside of your house virtually,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

But Dr. Ezike says we all know that many will still gather with friends and family for the holidays. 


If you plan to travel, the IDPH says consider the mode of transportation.

There may be lines where you cannot keep socially distant and you can decrease your risk by wearing a mask.

“If you're actually hosting a holiday gathering, try to have as many activities outdoors,” said Dr. Ezike.

Open windows to increase air flow.  Seat members of the same household together, consider having one person serve all the food, and limit the number of guests. 

“I think we have to get used to the idea of even in our home, wearing masks. As unnatural as that may feel,” said Dr. Ezike.

When it comes to buying gifts, try to shop online, or by curbside pick-up. And if you're still debating how to celebrate, one doctor from Northwestern Medicine suggests asking yourself this:

“Is the risk of bringing multiple people together in enclosed space worth it?” said Dr. Khalilah Gates.