Widespread COVID vaccines shine a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel

Samantha Friedler , Staff Writer

Back in March 2020, everyone’s life took a sharp turn with the outbreak of COVID-19, and new precautions were mandated to keep society healthy and functioning. Laws that were enforced required people to wear masks in public places, keep a six-foot distance in stores, and quarantine after traveling outside their state. Although these restrictions seemed like a lifetime of limitations, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. 

As of December last year,  COVID vaccines have been approved and offered across the country. Vaccination rates are continuously increasing and allowing society to gain some sense of normalcy. Although masks will not be gone for some time, communities are reviving slowly. 

Since September, Schreiber implemented an intricate and functional “hybrid” schedule. Half of the students have been coming into school physically, while the other half attends classes virtually. All lessons were held via Google Meet and were meant to duplicate the in-person learning experience.  Despite this, connection errors and troubleshooting often waste several minutes of class time and leave students unfocused and confused. 

“I am never able to focus at home because my little brother is always blasting his T.V. shows,” said sophomore Samantha Epp.

Additionally, following along with online lessons poses many challenges, considering all the family and outdoor distractions. Hopefully, as vaccines are now available for Schreiber’s sixteen and up population, and testing is being done for younger age groups, full-time in-person learning can continue. 

“I am looking forward to the day when I can return to in-person school everyday and be around all of my classmates and teachers,” said sophomore Tarah Parmar. 

In addition, restaurants and gyms throughout Port Washington are beginning to transform as well. In March 2020, restaurants throughout N.Y. state were forced to close down their indoor dining due to the pandemic. Families prepared meals at home and picked up take-out from their favorite restaurants. In response, many businesses lost customers, and some, unable to stay afloat, had to shut down completely. 

Restaurants began reviving their in-person business and allowing in-door seating. Although there is a maximum limit on the number of customers allowed in the seating area at one time, this number is continuously increasing as vaccination rates continue to go up. 

“I am so glad that I can finally sit and eat at Gino’s! It is my favorite pizza place,” said sophomore Marley Cooper. 

Similar changes within restaurants are also visible in gyms throughout the state. As of March 22, Governor Cuomo allowed gyms to officially start hosting indoor fitness classes and in-person sessions with limited capacity. Additionally, all fitness centers are hoping to fully reopen in August of this year. 

“I am so glad I am able to start working out again,” said sophomore Angelina Galanis. 

As vaccination rates continuously improve, society will continue to normalize. Although the COVID restrictions have not been easy on anyone, an end is approaching.