empty airplane

Covering Corona: Vacation

Over one year ago, the United States entered a state of emergency. Airports temporarily shut down, international travel became restricted, and many cities adopted strict curfews carrying hard fines. Needless to say, 2020 threw a wrench into the travel plans of millions across the globe.

In March of 2020, airports were working at minimum capacity. What were once bustling terminals were nearly abandoned, several rows of seat separated those looking to travel, and security was strict after exiting the aircraft. When traveling to Texas, if you were unlucky enough to be traveling from a Covid-19 hotspot, you would be taken to be put into state mandated quarantine. Fast forward to early March of 2021, airports are operating at maximum capacity, with the only travel requirement being a federal mask mandate and additional travel insurance fee. Flights are coming in and out of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport as usual. Restaurants have reopened, and extra spaces vanished. Witnessing the unfortunate return of normalcy in the bustling airport industry lead to an interesting question, is Covid-19 still affecting people’s travel and vacation? Here in South Dakota, the answer was surprising.

Thinking back to the fall semester of 2020, all breaks were cancelled, and instead one long winter break was made. This made concerns of constant travel vanish, with most students being able to return home for one extended period of time. However, during this time, some international students had nowhere to go. Despite the break, students such as Shrijeet Mishra, RA of the third floor of Zimmerman hall, and Nepali resident, were unable to return home. Instead, he remained on campus throughout the entire break. “I honestly was looking for ghosts in the halls,” he said, referring to the empty dark campus, describing it as cold and dead. He spent most of his days inside looking for online internships and working on personal projects.

When asking students across campus the question, “Did Covid-19 have an impact of your break?” out of ten students, seven of the students surveyed answered, no. Angel Gamboa, member of DSU’s Offensive Security, traveled back home to Colorado, where he returned to his family farm. “You’re not around a lot of people, so there’s not much Covid’s really going to get,” he said, when asked to give more detail as to why. Sioux Falls resident and life guard at the community center, Johnny Derenge commented, “I’m really just going swimming, there isn’t much there they can do to stop me,” referring to his plans for the break.

As for those who were affected by the Coronavirus, Ernst Bateman, a local cyber operations major, had his younger sisters come to visit him in Madison over their spring break. The group planned to drive to see the Hjemkomst Viking Center in Fargo-Moorhead. However, due to Covid-19 regulations, they ultimately cancelled the plan and stayed in Madison, where they crafted a magnificent snowman proudly displayed on Washington Avenue.

Unlike the previous year, many people are no longer facing strict restrictions on their vacations, and for those still affected, they have found a way to make the most of their time after a year of hardship. Life seems to be returning to normal. Hopefully this pandemic will be another footnote in history soon enough, and spring break can be as wild and unregulated as it always have.