CAPE MAY COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — It turns out the pandemic is lengthening the summer season down the shore, pushing it beyond Labor Day for some families. Labor Day is in the rear-view mirror but that doesn’t matter a bit based on the crowd on the beach in Wildwood Tuesday.
Virtual learning and working from home has definitely extended the summer season — some people have booked places well into October.
Class is well underway. Bobby and Guy Bollinger are on their Zooms, but the sixth and third graders from the Springfield, Delaware County School District are taking in life down the shore.
Mom Lori Bollinger saw the chance to change things up. Since she works from home, and with her children in virtual programs, why not stay on vacation — sort of.
“I said I’ve got to change it up. I’ve got to do something different. We’re going to have fun and just try to make the most of it,” she said. “We got to do something that we never would have done if we didn’t just take the chance to get this house for the month.”
Labor Day was typically summer’s swansong but with 2020’s work from home and virtual school arrangements, families have opted to stay put at the beach.
That could prove to be a much-needed stimulus for weathered shore town economies limping back from state-mandated shutdowns.
The trend is definitely hot.
Officials in Cape May County confirm this year Labor Day won’t technically be the end of the summer season with more people staying as opposed to heading home.
Second homeowners at the shore have even registered their children in seaside schools, with student counts up at a half-dozen districts.
Makenna Marucci is a junior at Rowan University. She attended class this Tuesday from the front porch of her Wildwood Crest home.
“At first I was disappointed because I love being on campus but I feel like I can make the best of it. It’s nice I can be outside, I can be on the beach, I can kind of be wherever I want,” she said.
Unusual times for both students and those employed and working from home. As this mom put it, why not, you only live once.
“My new thing is, everyone’s been saying ‘YOLO.’ It’s ‘YODO’– you only die once. So we’re going to live our life and enjoy it,” Lori Bollinger said.
Some shore experts will swear the weather in September through at least early October is some of the best you can come by.
Wildwood Crest’s mayor tells Eyewitness News that beach protection has been extended because there are more people down the shore.
Officials at the county level tell CBS3 they’ve actually seen increased enrollments in local public schools.
That’s another sign that those who have second houses have enrolled their kids in public school, taking advantage of unusual times.