Since COVID hit, many of our concerned parents have kept us safe inside our house, and limited how much time we spend with friends. Due to lockdown, many students’ mental health has suffered or weakened because of the lack of socialization many of us are struggling with.
“The pandemic has made it harder than ever with seeing friends or family,” sophomore Don Tompkins said.
With the vaccines and lifted mask mandate there have been mixed emotions from parents about letting their children out with others. However, there are some places to spend time with your friends safely.
“A safe place is somewhere that social distancing is enforced, everyone with their masks on, and sanitizer stations that are constantly refilled,” Tompkins said.
On March 2, governor Greg Abbot announced that the mask mandate in Texas would be lifted, an announcement that was then put into effect on March 10. This allowed businesses to choose if they wanted to be open up 100%, or keep their COVID-free restrictions.
“I have reduced my trips to stores and public places like parks,” freshman Juan Rodriguez said. “I have a backyard so I can go outside there.”
The lifted mandate created a concern among families for fear of catching the virus. However, there are still many places that enforce masks, and places where it is a bit safer to go with friends.
“Some good places to hang out with friends are parks and restaurants that aren’t as popular or that are in low populated areas,” Tompkins said.
The Menil Park, which is next to The Menil Collection museum, is a great field to spend time with friends, especially now that it’s spring time and we are getting nice weather. You can do activities such as having a picnic or mini outdoor activities. There’s enough space to keep socially distanced, and while in the area you could stop by the art museums.
“If no one is around I like to take in the fresh air but when I see someone about to pass me I put my mask on,” Tompkins said. “I think they should be worn in crowded parks or when people are close by, but if it’s just you it should be fine to take it off and take the opportunity to get some good breaths of fresh air.” There is also a safe place to hang out with friends before and after school, not far at all.
“I recommend the front of the school with the yard and grass, it has nice air,” Rodriguez said. “The outside air flow is moving the air so the germs are constantly being cleaned in a way.”
When you look around you could start to find places that are pretty safe and secluded for a hangout spot. You might even find a new favorite spot! But always remember to stay safe Texans.
“Wear your mask and sanitize,” Tompkins said. “It will keep you and the people around you safe.”