A Year Gone By, And One On The Horizon

A paper poster demanding the use for masks. The mask mandate is a large part of the current COVID-19 restrictions in El Paso county.

A paper poster demanding the use for masks. The mask mandate is a large part of the current COVID-19 restrictions in El Paso county.

From assemblies to homecoming dances and sporting events, Air Academy has suffered several social restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19. However, as another year has yet passed us by, what can students and teachers hope for in the coming year? What is everyone excited for and anxious to hear?

“I hope we are able to have assemblies and hopefully no more masks,” Air Academy junior, Noelle Jacobsen remarked adamantly.

The mask mandate is still currently enacted and requires anyone over the age of eleven to wear a mask over their noses and mouths in most public locations. However, just over a week ago Gov. Jared Polis extended the mask mandate for an extra thirty days, insinuating masks will no longer be required in most public locations and more than half of the state’s counties as soon as those thirty days are up. Whether that includes Air Academy high school or not is unclear at the moment.

In Air Academy, assemblies used to be something students could enjoy and perhaps see them as a way of escape every now and then throughout the challenging year of academics. Not only could they be fun, but a great way to show off the school spirit.

“I miss going to school sporting events and everyone going to school in person,” Jacobsen added.

Many students have decided to stay synchronous for much of the school year while others have returned in person with masks. Students like Jacobsen are eager to get back to the normal lifestyle we had just back in 2019. Evidently, several others like Jacobsen refuse to believe this is the “new normal” and yearn for the lives they once had in their grasps.

“Well, I am hoping that we won’t have to worry so much about social distancing. It makes interactions in class difficult to manage as well as things like waiting in line at stores so hopefully, those will be back to normal,” AAHS junior Abby Litchfield explained.

Despite what social distancing can do to keep students and staff safe, it, unfortunately, limits the amount of socializing and necessary interaction that students have been lacking this past year.

“For me, the most disappointing thing was probably just missing the social aspect of the year. Like dances and new friendships and getting to enjoy being the big seniors, you dream about getting to the other three years, and all the fun perks of being a senior that we didn’t get to have,” senior Capri Dewing stated.

Senior year is a big year that several students may look forward to as Dewing explained. It’s the motivation throughout the prior three years. Dewing clearly ponders about what the class of 2021 missed out on this year.

“I think we can expect the restrictions to lighten more but I believe that some will still be in place,” Jacobsen opinioned in terms of the COVID restrictions in effect to keep everyone healthy and at their best.

Litchfield also longs for similar things as Jacobsen. “It’s not school-related but I miss being able to go to the movies and things like baseball games because of COVID restrictions,” Litchfield reminisced. Although the theaters have reopened, it’s at the expense of a pricey ticket and sporting events still seem like a distant dream before they return to normal.

Just as Jacobsen implied, Litchfield believes the restrictions shall reduce in intensity this coming fall. “I think we can expect full in-person classes and looser mask and social distancing restrictions, but I don’t think they will go away by any means,” she said.

However, Dewing has something to say in terms of what seniors can advise the class of 2022 supposing the restrictions don’t ease up.

“I would say to have fun and enjoy where you are. It’s easy to be so caught up in college plans and so on, which yes are important, but still take in where you are because you can never go back and it’s worth making good memories!” Dewing remarked. “My favorite thing was probably getting to play sports for the school. I loved playing soccer and basketball and having fans watching and going crazy in the stands!”

Despite what seniors missed out on this year, the class of 2022 and other students are eager to get back to normal and be able to enjoy their final years in high school without having to worry about pandemic restrictions. Students are dying to attend sporting events like normal and go to prom and see their friends without half their faces covered.

Whatever awaits Air Academy this coming fall, students and staff can only hope things will go upward from here. After all, this is one year missed, that nobody is getting back.

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