An Injection of Hope


It was an obscure Thursday in March last year that dashed the hopes of many to go on spring vacations. As time kept moving on, however, it became clear that Nixa students would have more than just spring break off. Now over a year since “Stop The Spread,” the questions arise over how long the COVID-19 pandemic will continue dominate daily life. In a speech to the nation on March 11, President Joseph Biden set a goal that Independence Day would be the first normal holiday people could experience if the regulations that have been in place over the past continued to hold fast.
“By July the Fourth there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said.
In the same speech, Biden also forecasted the number of vaccines the U.S. will have towards the beginning of June into the summer months.
“We will have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May,” Biden said. “That’s months ahead of schedule.”
As good as that sounds to many, there are still hurdles to jump over before the nation can officially go back to the normal, pre-COVID-19 life. Although there might be enough vaccines for every adult, not every American adult will end up with one by June. However, as the vaccine process speeds up, more people will have a better chance to get a vaccine and lighten down some of the regulations that have been in place.
Locally, the city of Nixa has put regulations in place (mask mandate, social distancing, etc.) that, for the majority of the pandemic, have aimed to help lower the number of cases. Nixa’s Director of Communications Drew Douglas said there is still a little while before the city gets back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
“Right now, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Douglas said. “But it’s important to remember we still have to get to the end of that tunnel.”
The city works with neighboring cities and towns to give a better understanding of the immediate community, and Douglas said he thinks that the city’s plan in that regard has worked out well.
“We work with neighboring communities like Springfield and Ozark to see if we want to make changes,” Douglas said. “We want to minimize confusion for our citizens; that way they don’t go from city to city or county to county with different restrictions, so we try to keep everything as consistent as possible.”
Douglas said there isn’t a set-in-stone number that would lead to an ease in restrictions for Nixa, and the city doesn’t want to rush the decision.
“We don’t want a situation where we dial back some of the restrictions but end up causing more cases or deaths,” Douglas said. “We’ve also got to worry about the possibility of a new variant from other areas spreading through Nixa.”
With all of that in mind, the city will continue to hold restrictions such as the mask mandates until further notice — whenever that is.
“It’s been a long race, but we have to end strong,” Douglas said. “We have to finish by keeping our community as safe as possible.”
Many in the community, however, are traveling and going on summer vacations, like freshman Bryce Verdier who’s going to Colorado with his family.
“My family is going skiing in this little town called Crested Butte in Colorado this summer,” Verdier said. “We’re also going ziplining in Branson and a bunch of other fun stuff we haven’t been able to do.”
Verdier expects some COVID-19 regulations to be in place in Colorado but doesn’t expect drastic ones because his family will be outdoors for most of it.
“I think there’s definitely going to be restrictions or limitations, but I don’t expect them to really alter my family’s plans a whole lot from the past because we’ll mostly be hiking outdoors.”
Even as the light in the tunnel begins to shine brighter and brighter, Verdier appreciates that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
“I would definitely say I’m looking forward to getting back to normal sooner rather than later,” Verdier said. “I’m getting really tired of wearing masks and the like for over a year now.”