As we step onto campus for the first time in over a year, we welcome a spirit of excitement into the 2021-2022 school year, and leave behind our first summer out of lockdown. Here are some of the biggest news stories from the Summer of 2021.
The 2021 Olympics took place in Tokyo from Friday, July 23 through Sunday, Aug. 8, after being postponed a year due to COVID. Athletes from 206 countries competed in 41 unique sports and 339 events throughout the games. 20 world records were set, including three by United States athletes.
At the end of July, Simone Biles also made headlines following her decision to drop out of the individual all-around competition, and later, the vaults and the uneven bars finals. Biles was met mostly with support when stating a need to focus on her mental health as the reason for dropping out of these events.
UMass Boston Over the Summer:
UMass Boston expressed great pride when alum Wadeline Jonathas competed in the Tokyo Olympics for the Team USA track and field team. Jonathas competed in the 400-meter and the 4x400 meter relay. Though she was not part of the team that won the 4x400 finalists their gold medal at the games, she will still receive a gold medal as she was part of the preliminary team that qualified Team USA for the final race.
UMass Boston, along with UMass Lowell, have also recently had a lawsuit filed against them regarding their vaccine mandates. Cora Cluett, a UMass Boston senior, along with Hunter Harris, a UMass Lowell junior, are suing the universities, claiming that the vaccine mandates are unconstitutional. Cluett also claims that her religious freedoms have been infringed upon due to UMass Boston’s denial of her request for a religious exemption from vaccination.
On Thursday, Aug. 26, Cluett, Harris, and lawyers who represent the schools appeared virtually in the U.S. District Court. The case was not dismissed nor the vaccine mandates stopped, however, the judge stated that when making her decision, she would keep the start date of each university’s semester in mind.
Keeping Up With COVID:
Starting in May at the very latest, the Delta variant of COVID began surfacing in the U.S. The CDC states that the Delta variant is more than twice as contagious as other variants of the virus. Additionally, they state that transmission among those who are unvaccinated is most common, as people who are not vaccinated are more likely to become infected and spread the virus.
“Delta is currently the predominant variant of the virus in the United States,” reads the CDC website.
Additionally, the Pfizer vaccination was fully approved by the FDA for individuals aged 16 and older on Aug. 23. Following the announcement, President Biden urged Americans to get the vaccination as quickly as they could.
The Biden administration also recommended a COVID booster shot for all Americans eight months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, the FDA is still investigating if a booster shot is safe and effective.
The Taliban Take Over Afghanistan:
On Aug. 15, the government of Afghanistan was taken over by Taliban forces. Following the departure of Afghan President Ghani, Taliban fighters overtook the nation’s capital, Kabul.
The next day, the United States deployed 6,000 troops to secure and evacuate Americans and the nation’s allies from Kabul’s international airport, which had been rushed by Afghan citizens attempting to flee. Additionally, President Biden defended his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.
By Aug. 26, 13 American troops had been killed. President Biden decided to continue the evacuation of Kabul until at least Aug. 31, the deadline for troop withdrawal.