Virus slowdown brings summer hopes

By Amelia Coleman, Golden Eye Staff Writer

Everyone knows the pandemic of COVID-19 has pushed limits on countless activities this academic year, from sporting events to music concerts to overnight trips for students. But with more than 100 million Americans being vaccinated and with greater availability of vaccines, things are looking up. 

About 30 percent of Arkansans have been vaccinated, and if even more were vaccinated, it would help solve the problem of vaccinating facilities needing to get rid of their doses instead of wasting them. Fully vaccinated people have been able to safely enjoy freedoms they thought would never come, like being unmasked inside with other fully vaccinated parties. 

In the summer of 2021, most students are sure to bask in the reward of not having to put on a mask and spend eight hours in school, working hard and being somewhat isolated due to social distancing. This summer, pre-pandemic events have been planned to pick back up, including camps for a variety of fields, such as engineering and choir. 

Some students plan to polish their academic skills by taking the ACT. 

Others will go on trips to destinations that are much safer and less restrictive than they were last year, but it does not take a trip to extravagant destinations to have an enjoyable time. Some students will enjoy playing sports at local recreation centers as these hotspots become safer.

Once fully vaccinated people reach their period of immunity (two weeks after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine), they will be able to spend more time together without worrying about limiting their exposure to each other.

Among many who are excited about upcoming opportunities is JHS science teacher Mr. Dan Mullins. 

While he was able to go fishing in the Southfork and Buffalo rivers last summer and will get to do so this summer as well, Mullins is also looking forward to going to Disney World this year for his daughter’s senior trip. 

Even though there will be limitations such as wearing masks and not having many people there, Mullins sees benefits to going when the parks are at limited capacity. 

“Thirty-five percent capacity is not all that bad because the lines for things should be shorter,” Mullins said. “So, that’s actually a good thing.” 

He looks forward to a greater sense of normalcy next year but has also enjoyed some new systems he has established this year. In addition to Mr. Mullins, sophomore Rachel Liouh will have redeemed opportunities this summer. 

She is going to a dance camp with the JHS dance team during summer break. She will also attend an extracurricular ballet dance camp in Chicago through July. At the dance camp with the school’s squad, the girls will be put into groups to learn dances and perform them at the end. In Chicago, each class held will cover a different dance genre. Liouh is ready to attend these events because even though one of her events in Kingsport, Tenn., still occurred last summer, her audition for a summer intensive program at Julliard was changed to virtual, a discouraging factor for her and many others. 

With the new opportunities shining bright and the burnout from this school year, teachers and students are bound to recover physically and mentally this summer, and we are all ready for that.