Moving during a pandemic

Just throwing this out to my fellow mutants to see if anyone else is facing a move.

I live in AK but will be starting a graduate program in August down in Idaho. Initially the plan was to drive down across Canada, but with the extended border closure (through July 21 at the earliest) and sheer distance/time (2800 mi/48h driving time), we are thinking about flying down instead. I’ve heard varying reports about people being allowed to cross for education and would hate to get turned away.

Of course, now I’m freaking out a little bit about flying. I’m fortunate to be flying from a “yellow” county to another “yellow” county, but will have a layover in Seattle. Basically, there’s no great way for me to get down there and deferring a year isn’t an option. Trying not to stress out too much about it, but it’s difficult.

Is anyone else out there dealing with the logistics of moving/sending your offspring to school/etc right now? How are you coping?


Well you can cross Canada if you go directly and reasonably quickly to the US you are good. IE no 4 day detours in Banff.

Also see if the ferry from Anchorage to Bellingham is running. You get some wonderful views of the inside passage.


I am not moving, but good luck, with the move, with grad school!

All I can say is mask as well as you can and maybe get tested if possible after you arrive…


Thanks for the feedback! Do you know of anyone who has actually made it across? I had a classmate try to move down last month (for the same program) and was turned away because it wasn’t essential that they be moving that early :woman_shrugging:

But how will my instagram followers know I am #livingmybestlife if I don’t get pics in Banff?? /s

Thank you for your well wishes and that’s definitely part of the plan! This is going to be a weird year.


I can’t image starting grad school during a pandemic, much less moving to do so!

Can I ask what your field of study is?


Sure thing - Physician Assistant! I’d probably be reevaluating things if I wasn’t going into healthcare, but it feels important to me to get trained and out into the world healing people.


Yeah, that’s a critical field! We need you out there! I’d say that even if there wasn’t a pandemic on, too. Plus, as the boomers age… well… not to be crass, but there is some job security there.


Hey, now! :wink: :joy:


I just moved back to Hawaii from Norway; when my original flight was canceled, there were none left with direct connections, so this was 2 days of travel including a night’s layover in LA. Like you I was nervous because the trip was where I was most likely to be exposed. So far I seem to be OK (I’m in quarantine in case that changes).

A couple of bits of advice: (1) The incidence of transmission on flights seems to be low, and for your first leg at least the fraction of shedders should be low since they are people who like you are coming from Alaska. (2) Try to fly airlines where they have the middle seats blocked. One leg of my flight the plane was packed; even if it was still relatively safe it made me nervous throughout the flight and after, which was a miserable experience. (3) Services on flights are really cut back; for a longer flight make sure you bring some real food and your own water. No coffee on flights (this was tough for me on my 11 hour leg). (4) Terminals/gate areas are emptier than usual, so you can probably find a place to sit 2 meters from others. Which is a good thing, because if the terminals you visit are anything like LAX, they will be full of maskless covidiots. (5) I chose a layover hotel based mainly on how recent reviews rated the cleanliness. The one I ended up in really was sparkling clean (big tip for the housekeepers!), which made sleeping easier.

As for the kids and school, rates of transmission in schools also seems to be low for some reason. In Sweden, where they never closed the schools, the coronavirus infection rates for under-19s is no higher than in the other Nordic countries which did shut down. I don’t know how their safety protocols compare to where you’re moving, but people in university communities tend to be obsessive about such things, so you should be OK.

Good luck with grad school; I’m currently agonizing over how best to balance safety and quality of learning experience for my students in the Fall. I really want to meet my upper-division students live, but I don’t trust my campus’s planners to give me a large enough classroom to make that safe.


There is still the ferry as an option.


Thank you so, so much. I was hoping that someone else out there had recently dealt with some of the same situations I am about to. The tip about hotels is a great one - checking reviews is so easy now with all of the travel sites. I appreciate the note about coffee, too. I knew about the beverage service being suspended, but hadn’t thought through what that actually meant in terms of my caffeine addiction.

This is a doozy: my program is requiring masks and splitting our class into smaller groups, but so much of learning medicine is hands-on (practicing inserting IVs, catheters, doing physical exams, etc) that we will frequently be all together in lab. I’m fortunate that it is a small group anyways and we’ll be taking classes together for the duration (cutting down on our exposure to others), but I’m still bummed that I will be missing out on a lot of experiences that would normally happen during non-pandemic times. I’m also just waiting for that dreaded email telling me that everything’s going back to online-only delivery.

I hope you continue to remain covid free and are able to safely meet your upper-division students in person this semester :slight_smile:


This was the part I hadn’t expected. I arrived around 6pm, all the coffee shops near my hotel were already closed (apparently a covid thing), the hotel itself wasn’t serving anything, and I could feel a caffeine headache creeping up. We did take-out pizza for dinner so no luck there, but I finally found a can of iced espresso at a CVS.


Might not be a bad idea to take some caffeine pills with you if you’re prone to caffeine headaches like me.

Good luck! Going into healthcare right now is courageous.


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