BY SASHEEN JOSEPH
“Summer 2020 is going to be a movie,” is what so many people claimed at the beginning of the year.
However, within the first few months, this vision of hope quickly disappeared as the number of people affected by COVID-19 continued to increase. Now, as the school year ends and states gradually start to reopen, students are finding themselves deciding whether they should continue with their summer plans or continue social distancing.
For many people, that decision was already made for them, as Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) announced on May 18 that they will not host camps and daycare in public school facilities over the summer.
According to Local 10 News, “Optional summer programs, including transition camps for rising sixth and ninth grade students, Reimagining Middle Grades Align camps and activity-focused camps will only be offered using distance learning, whenever possible.” This means that many of the annual camps Cooper City is known for are either shifting to an online format or will no longer happen at all.
“Not being able to have our music camp this summer affects our campers, counselors and instructors in different ways,” Music Adventures Camp Director Gloria Vagi said. “Our campers are not going to be able to learn new instruments, continue to grow musically on their instruments in a live, group setting with our amazing instructors or be able to socialize with their friends and make new friends from other schools.”
“Not being able to have our music camp this summer affects our campers, counselors and instructors in different ways.”Music Adventures Camp Director Gloria Vagi
The Music Adventures Camp has been home to Pioneer Middle School for 23 years and has become a familiar organization for neighboring music programs. Many students in the Sound of Pride program often volunteer as counselors as a way to bond with future musicians.
“This summer I was planning on volunteering at the Music Adventures Summer Camp at Pioneer Middle School again, but now because of the current situation it was postponed to next year,” junior Jaylen Knight said. “I’m going to miss getting to bond with the incoming freshman and the service hours I usually get since during the year I’m super busy.”
Students who usually volunteer over the summer are now concerned with finding an alternative way to earn their community service hours and meet the graduation requirement, which is 40 hours.
Similarly, students that apply for summer programs or internships in order to gain new skills or simply enhance their college application are debating on whether the experience is still worth the time and money to attend if it is online.
“I got into the Young Scholars Program, which is a six [day] camp at Florida State University, but now it’s completely online because of coronavirus,” junior Kaylyn Myers said. “I honestly feel that the camp being online this year will still be very rewarding because I will still be able to take classes through Florida State University and learn many things. I would rather miss out of the physical experience than spread a deadly disease.”
“I would rather miss out of the physical experience than spread a deadly disease.”Junior Kaylyn Myers
Despite many programs and camps being transitioned into an online format, many local businesses, beaches and gyms are beginning to gradually reopen in Broward County as a part of the state reopening.
Along with this, travel restrictions are also beginning to ease. So, for those planning to attend summer camps or programs that are not local, attendance is not out of the picture. However, precaution is still a huge concern, especially with the Center Disease of Control and Prevention (CDC) releasing guidelines for camps in light of reopening.
“So for the past eight years I have been going to Camp Judaea; last year I went to Tel Yehuda, this year I’m going on Machon, which is in Israel,” junior Michael Sigal said. “Even though the program is not canceled yet, everyone who enters Israel has to quarantine for two weeks and my parents had to think about if it was worth it for them to pay for me to just sit in a hotel.”
Even though it seems that the stay-at-home orders are becoming less strict, the public is still urged to take precaution. This can be in the form of following the social distancing guidelines at camp or attending other offered programs online.
It seems that the “movie” people wanted summer 2020 to be has turned from a teenage coming-of age film into a dystopian nightmare.
Photo by The Lariat Photography