It’s been a long year.
And I don’t mean the transition from 2020 to 2021. The real year mark has been these last few weeks of March — a year since the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our lives.
The year benchmark has caused me to reflect on the events of the past year and where we go from here. The most important thing we have to look forward to at the College of William and Mary is the news that vaccines are coming. Through the College, 100 employees have been vaccinated so far. Not a large amount, but a start. These numbers should rapidly increase in the upcoming months because as announced by President Biden, there will be enough vaccines for the entire adult population by May 1, maybe even sooner.
The vaccine is available for the students and faculty at the College with medical conditions as well as those who are essential workers. But with the limited supply in the state, many in those groups will have to wait for more doses to become available, as appointments are quite limited. It is exciting to know that some among us have been vaccinated in the last week and many more will be in the upcoming weeks.
Although we have many reasons to have hope, we must remain cognizant of the fact that the process of vaccination takes more time than we would like and it will be a while before we reach a post-pandemic reality. Vaccine rollout has been quite slow thus far. May 1 is a promise, not a guarantee. After a year of continued disappointment, this isn’t much of a surprise. But even with delays, I think there is reason to believe we could all be vaccinated by the end of the summer.
Barring more unforeseen obstacles with vaccination distribution in Virginia this spring and summer, we should expect a more normal start to next year with a vaccinated campus population. It is key that the College does everything in its power to ensure we can start the fall semester with in-person classes, clubs and sports unhindered. Students have worked incredibly hard these past semesters to keep our community safe. We diligently followed rules set by the College that were much stricter than any state mandates. For example, we wore masks outside, and we limited gatherings to 10 or fewer people, even when the state capacity limit was higher. The College still dictates that only two students can sit at a table in the dining halls, even though restaurants are open. It’s only fair that we expect the fall semester to be more open and enjoyable to its students. With a vaccinated campus population, there are no valid reasons preventing normal operation next fall.
I am greatly looking forward to the fall semester. But until then, we just have to keep being patient with vaccine distribution to the best of our abilities. Although frustrating, we are ever closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. And when we finally get the vaccine ourselves, we must really savor that moment. It’s been a year in the making, after all.
Caitlin Noe ‘24 is a Government and Psychology double major. She is also a member of Amnesty International and Film Society. She will participate in the DC Summer Institute American Politics program this summer. Email Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.