The Spring 2021 semester is almost over, leading to the summer break of 2021. While there has been a large push towards vaccination, there is still a lot of danger posed by the coronavirus and its variants. Students and faculty will still have to be careful and safe in how they choose to spend their summer vacation this year.
The requirements of the past year have been long and difficult and free time can seem overwhelmingly endless. However, there are some low-risk events that anyone can do to have fun this summer that are relatively safe.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the guidelines for what makes an event low risk is the ability to social-distance and adequate air circulation.
Luckily, there are many summer activities that fit the bill.
Of course, general sports such as swimming, walking, hiking and roller-blading are safe to do as long as you stay six feet away from those not in your household and you choose relatively secluded areas. Swimming especially should be approached with care.
“Close contact of less than 6 feet (2 meters) from others — not water itself — can make these activities risky,” says the Mayo Clinic on their website. “If you go to the beach and come into close contact with others, your risk is higher. Water itself doesn’t spread the COVID-19 virus to people.”
More social activities, like picnics, are also available as great ways to reconnect with friends while staying safe.
Drive-in movies are the perfect option to relive the movie theater experience from the comfort and safety of one’s own car. The Bel-Air and Eden Drive-Ins are both relatively close by local drive-in movie theaters that display recently released movies, and a few old favorites as well.
One can spice up their walks with games like Pokemon Go, which is still receiving updates that allow players to find Pokémon all around their house and neighborhood.
While large indoor group events are still a no-go for this summer, that does not mean that you cannot find new and fun activities to do.
Adult coloring books are cheaper and easier to find than ever, giving you a chance to flex your creativity in a calming way. The therapeutic effects have been boasted of by institutions such as the Beaumont Health and Wellness Center on their website.
“Coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala,” the Beaumont Center explains. “It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind. This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest after a long day at work.”
The Smithsonian has also updated its website to allow for more interesting opportunities to learn interesting facts about our country, history and world. Many other museums still have their websites up, with the ability to browse the gift shop and get that giant giraffe you wanted as a kid.
The Smithsonian even has virtual tours of all present and past exhibits available on all common devices, including cellphones and tablets.
The Chicago Field Museum, home to Sue the T-Rex, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil discovered and witty Twitter personality, also hosts essays and videos about the contents of their exhibits, allowing those who may not have ever had the opportunity to visit in person before the pandemic to learn more about their studies.
The Greensboro Bound Literary Festival is also being held online this year, with all panels and events available to the public for free at https://greensborobound.com.
The event focuses on local, national and international writers, and provides tips to help other local readers and writers as well.
On their website, Greensboro Bound states:
“Each year in May thousands of book lovers, readers, writers, publishers, academics, scholars, adults, and children converge on downtown Greensboro for the annual Greensboro Bound Literary Festival. We create a space for readers and writers to come together and share stories and experiences. We hope that by providing a platform for dialogue and discussion we can create a better understanding of and empathy for the human condition. The authors and topics presented at Greensboro Bound span a broad swath of interests and subject matter, including the LGBTQ experience, speculative fiction, immigrant narratives, social justice, memoir, and romance… just to name a few. Our author panels and discussions are complemented by puppet shows, a children’s opera, character parades, artists, and musical presentations.”
While unfortunately social distancing is still in place this summer, there are plenty of interesting and new things to do for the summer of 2021 that are available and safe for students and faculty at UNCG.