We are Rounding the Curve. What’s Next?

Terrol Perkins
Data News Weekly Contributor

When I received my first vaccination shot in March of 2021, I was practically willing to do anything in order to resume my normal life pre-COVID. I, like most, vividly remember the lockdowns of the quarantine summer months of 2020. Being a part of the Jesuit High School Class of 2020, my graduation had to adhere to capacity restrictions, and my parents weren’t allowed in the school’s graduation hall. Instead, they, along with the other parents of my classmates, had to gather at the outside of the building and watch the commencement ceremony virtually. Also, the number of enjoyable, extracurricular activities during my first semester of college at Xavier University of Louisiana were limited or virtual due to the Pandemic restrictions. Through it all, my experiences during the lockdowns taught me something that it takes some people an entire lifetime to understand: the only thing constant in life is change whether we like or accept the change or not.

Of course, though, nobody liked not being able to communicate with their friends without the need of a face mask, being prohibited from going to a football game in a crowded stadium or watching a newly released movie on the “big screen” for nearly a year. Many people lost hope of life ever returning to the way it was prior to the initiation of the lockdowns in March 2020. I, myself, remained doubtful, but, after I received both doses of the Moderna vaccine, my wavering optimism was renewed with a huge yearning of desiring my old life back.

Now that the summer of 2021 is drawing to a close and I’ve had some time to reflect on the challenges of the past year, I am pleased with the tremendous progress that we as a society have made to “round the curve.” When I return to Xavier University in the Fall of 2021 to begin my sophomore year of college, I am excited to have a much better experience with less restrictions than in my first year. My wish is for all of my Fall Semester college classes to be taught in an in-person setting with an online option being a possible alternative for some students who still feel uncomfortable mingling with large numbers of people.

This approach would take into consideration the wants and needs of every student. I also want the University to sponsor more in-person activities and events so more students can socialize and enjoy campus life. In my opinion, allowing for more social gatherings while still adhering to capacity restrictions would dramatically increase school spirit.

Furthermore, I also support the idea of private institutions mandating that all faculty and staff members as well as students receive the COVID-19 Vaccine prior to returning to campus. This measure will allow for more social engagements around schools also making sure that everyone is less likely to contract the virus and infect others.

I would opine, that the vaccine is the only way to return to semi-normalcy and keep the highly contagious Delta Variant from spreading dramatically. Universities deciding to implement these recommendations will help more schools gradually move on from the Pandemic while also keeping everyone safe and comfortable. If we truly seek to “round the curve” then we can’t be resistant to take the necessary steps to achieve this goal. To seek the change we want, we first have to put in the work.

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