2020 vs. 2021 Summer Plans


Cadee Lee, Assistant Managing Editor

Summer break is usually a time for students at the Bergen County Academies to take a break from school: to travel, work part-time, attend summer camps, volunteer, etc. However, with quarantine starting in March, 2020, many of those plans were cancelled or postponed. Today, with more vaccinated, in-person activities are slowly starting to open up. The Academy Chronicle conducted a survey to compare the summer plans of BCA students in 2020 to 2021. 

Last June, it was slowly nearing the fourth month of quarantine. Vaccines were not yet available to the general public, and most students were stuck at home. The majority of summer programs were either cancelled, postponed, or switched to a virtual environment. 

When BCA students were asked what summer plans they had in 2020, 53.2% of students responded that they were going to travel. However, some students did mention that they planned road trips to avoid plane rides. 27.8% of students responded that they were going to prepare for standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, PSAT, etc. Surprisingly, 21.5% of students said they were planning to volunteer in-person and 20.3% of students said their volunteer work was virtual. 

Only 6.3 % of students said they were planning to participate in the BCA summer research programs, 10.1% said they planned to take the Academy Specific Courses, 5.1% said they planned online internships, and 1.3% said they planned in-person internships. Some other responses in the survey included working on personal hobbies, working part-time, self-studying at home or studying through free online courses. 

These results were then compared to plans that BCA students have for this summer, 2021. With more and more people, including most BCA teachers and students, vaccinated, in-person activities are slowly starting to reopen. Dining in at restaurants is returning and travel bans are starting to be lifted. “I think I misused my first summer, but this summer, my plans are endless!” said a sophomore in the Academy for Engineering and Design Technology.

Another sophomore in the Academy for Medical Science Technology said that they have, “definitely more in-person activities this summer and more comfort with the vaccine.”

The results of the survey also reflected similar opinions. Traveling still remained the most popular option for 2021 summer plans, but increased to 68.4% (an increase of 15.2%). 49.4% of students also responded that they plan to study for standardized tests (an increase of 21.6%). The reason for such a significant increase may be because more students are scheduled to take standardized tests this summer as opposed to last summer, especially because of the frequent cancellations last year due to the pandemic. 39.2 % of students responded that they plan to volunteer in-person and 26.6% of students responded that they plan to volunteer virtually. Compared to the results from 2020 summer plans, in-person volunteering is notably more popular this year. 

16.5% of students said they plan to participate in the BCA summer research programs, 24.1% said they plan to take Academy Specific Courses, 20.3% said they are planning online internships, and 21.5% said they are planning in-person internships. All four of these categories showed a significant increase compared to the results from 2020. It is predictable that more in-person internships are opening up, and even the online internships are probably more familiar with how to work efficiently in a virtual environment. This year, BCA is also offering the Academy Specific Courses and summer research programs for free to all students.

This survey was only one example of the various ways that the pandemic has changed everyone’s lives. Although life may never be the same even after we can walk around mask-free, it is definitely uplifting and relieving to see that many activities are starting to reopen this summer for BCA students.