Daniel Cindea was standing on the deck of his friend’s townhouse in mid-March, sipping out of a Smirnoff Ice “Smash” can and talking to friends about whatever people talk about at parties. Others, all JMU students like Cindea, were smoking cigarettes, drinking similar drinks and laughing.
While COVID-19 vaccinations have become widely available, several Harrisonburg organizations have stepped up efforts to help people in vulnerable communities — including immigrants and refugees, as well as those experiencing homelessness — overcome hurdles to get vaccinated.
In unprecedented times, the JMU softball team delivered an entirely precedented Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title, providing sports fans with a sense of much-needed normalcy. (The softball team is now in unprecedented territory, however, playing No. 1 Oklahoma at noon today in its first-ever trip to the Women’s College World Series).
Even as hospitals overflow with record numbers of Covid-19 patients in other parts of the country and world, the Central Shenandoah Health District is upbeat about the progress of the state health department’s vaccination campaign in their jurisdiction.
Even as guidelines have adjusted to recommend three feet of distance between students in K-12 schools and a growing number of students receive vaccines, JMU continues to enforce on- and off-campus COVID-19 rules that were part of a “Stop the Spread” contract all students had to sign before returning to campus last fall.
Now that this part of the Valley has officially shifted to vaccinating people in Phase 2, area adults — including college students — are lining up to get their shots. The Central Shenandoah Health District spent three months working to vaccinate those in Phase 1b, which included first responders, grocery store workers, food processing and agriculture workers — including those who work in area poultry plants — and adults with underlying health issues and all those over 65. It only took 10 days to get through those in Phase 1c, which includes other essential workers, in the area because it was a smaller group and vaccine doses were more available.
All JMU employees — including faculty, staff, graduate assistants and student employees — and other local higher education staff members that fall under Virginia’s 1c category are eligible to receive a first round of the COVID-19 vaccine at the JMU Convocation Center on Friday morning.
For Welsko and Barr, the local movie experience will take a turn for the better on May 21 when Harrisonburg’s Regal Theater will begin showing movies again for the first time in about eight months.