State begins to open in time for summer activities


Photo Courtesy of Brock Stein

A young skateboard enthusiast displays his skills at a contest held at Bott Community Park and hosted by Jerics Skateshop

Nicole Posont, Staff Writer

Summer is just around the corner, and the world is ready to make it one to remember. Staying Covid-safe while having the best summer ever is possible, thanks to advancements in science and healthcare. 

With America’s vaccination rates growing exponentially, many businesses have decided to take steps towards normalcy. 

“Summer camps and sports facilities that were closed last year have been reopened with limited availability to allow for social distancing,” Plainfield North school nurse Sheryl Szczesniak said. 

Many summer programs, activities and events had been put on pause due to Illinois State restrictions starting in spring 2020. From concerts to summer school, restrictions have thrown off the rhythm of many’s lives. Now, as restrictions change, people are starting to enjoy their favorite seasonal activities again. 

“[Last year] most of the Park District spring special events including our egg hunts were canceled, our public facilities closed which also lead to the cancelation of basketball, group exercise, dance classes, and any other indoor programs,” Plainfield Park District Marketing Manager Brock Stein said. “Our Recreation team, early on, created online activities for residents as part of an e-recreation program which included esports, take-home crafts, and distance birthday party packages,”  Stein said. 

Starting this spring, many theme parks, summer camps, and recreation centers are now offering activities for the summer. Six Flags Great America is now open by advanced reservation on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and will open all week after Memorial Day.

“All of our facilities have reopened over the past year after the District put in place safety measures to ensure that everyone who uses our facilities and everyone who works at the Park District remains safe,” Stein said. 

Looking for an activity closer to home?  Activities such as the escape room Aurora, axe-throwing in Plainfield and even renting helicopter piloting lessons in Bolingbrook follow current guidelines, but staying safe doesn’t stop after entering the door. 

“It is important to continue to wear your mask and remain socially distant,” Szczesniak said. “Have fun, [but] just do it safely.” 

While indoor activities are now opening, outdoor activities may still be a safer option for socializing. Spending time outside was popular in summer 2020, where driveway parties were a common sight. 

“I started walking with my friends last summer due to the pandemic, and I am looking forward to doing that again,” Oswego senior Allison Nietzel said. 

Some activities didn’t close, proving a great way to hang out with friends and stay Covid-free over summer. 

“There are many great activities that you can enjoy with friends and still remain socially distant,” Szczesniak said. “For example, picnicking, hiking, biking, running, kayaking, canoeing, golfing, roller skating/blading, skateboarding and visiting the zoo, or arboretum.” 

For students looking at summer as an opportunity to knock out a credit, District 202 will be hosting summer school. According to North Associate Principal Stan Bertoni, the location will either be at either Plainfield Central or Plainfield East, depending  on staffing. This summer will also give students new opportunities  to choose whether they want to learn in the classroom or at home. 

“We hope to announce a new course offering in summer school which hopefully will give students even more choices,” Bertoni said. 

The flexible scheduling of online summer school could come in handy if students have vacation plans that were canceled last year. 

Domestic travel has been on an upward trend starting in early April when people began taking spring break vacations.  Experts speculate this trend will continue through the summer months.  

“U.S. domestic flight bookings for summer travel sharply rose earlier this month, according to research from the data identity company Adara. Since Feb. 1, domestic hotel bookings have more than tripled,” contributing editor at CNBC Monica Buchanan Pitrelli said. 

“It feels nice to have something to be excited about,” Neitzel said.