by Emily Siansky ‘22
The stereotype of teen life includes going to parties, having sleepovers, and hanging out with one another–something the pandemic abruptly put to a stop. However, after more than a year of isolation from others, Sherwood students have started a safe return to “normal life” by being vaccinated against Covid-19.
Junior Lizzie Dobenecker has started to open up about seeing others after she got vaccinated. “I definitely feel a lot more comfortable hanging out with my friends, especially those who are vaccinated. It’s so fun to be able to again,” said Dobonecker.
In early April, Governor Larry Hogan announced that everyone 16 years old and older can start getting vaccinated. In May, children from ages 12-15 were also approved to start getting the vaccine. Since then, teenagers have worked with their parents to find their ways to mass vaccination sites or local clinics to get the shot. For the most part, by April, finding a vaccine was not a challenging task, though teenagers are limited to only getting the Pfizer vaccine.
After being stuck seeing friends and family though tiny boxes on computer screens, or being socially distanced, visiting other people is becoming safe again–with precautions, of course. Being vaccinated helps provide that comfort that, while it is not impossible, it is very unlikely that one would contract Covid-19 after being vaccinated.
Besides hanging out with friends, vaccinations also have led teens and their families to feel more comfortable traveling and visiting family. “Being able to see my grandparents and family more often has been amazing. I haven’t seen a lot of them in person in over a year,” said junior Holly Rogers, who has recently traveled out of state to see extended family.
Per the newest CDC guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks indoor or outdoor, with some exceptions. However, individual businesses and counties have been setting their own guidelines based on Covid-19 cases in the area, which has allowed the public to ease back into a mask-less lifestyle. Starting on May 28, Montgomery County lifted the mask meditate for fully vaccinated people. Those who are not fully vaccinated are expected to follow the honor system and continue to wear their masks.
Junior Sophie Levine thinks that she would feel more comfortable wearing a mask indoors with people she has not been around, even though she’s fully vaccinated. “In regards to other people’s houses, even if we’ve been fully vaccinated for over two weeks I still want to wear a mask indoors because it’s a lot of new germs that I haven’t been around in over a year, and I want to let my body slowly familiarize itself with the area,” Levine said. Levine also mentioned that because she’s worn a mask for so long, the thought of not wearing one is strange. She would much prefer to wear one, even with those who are already vaccinated.
Traveling for the summer is another hot topic when it comes to those getting vaccinated. Last summer, cases spiked when people traveled; however, there should be a much lower chance of a spike this year because of the increase in vaccinations.
Junior Summer Green has a couple of trips planned in the next coming months. “Since I play travel softball, I do have to travel to places like New Jersey and South Carolina for softball this summer. Additionally, I’m supposed to go on a cruise with other people who are fully vaccinated, and we would still wear masks,” said Green.
Levine also is planning on going away this summer to camp. “I’m going to sleep-away camp for 3 weeks. There will be less than 100 teens there and some staff. We are required to get tested frequently with constant temperature checks,” Levine noted.
While it is hard to foresee when life will return to completely pre-Covid times, getting vaccinated does provide hope. “I am ready to go back to a normal life when all the doctors and medical professionals have said it is safe, and when more people are fully vaccinated,” said Rogers.