The end is near. For Ottumwa students, next week is what they’ve been working toward since last August.

The end of the school year means, for many, the chance to sleep in a bit more and worry a bit less. There will be time to be outside, at least until summer’s humidity-soaked heat really builds up. Vacations beckon. So do summer jobs for older students. The county fair ramps up next week, with the 4-H Expo following on its heels.

Many adults worry that summers today aren’t the same as when they were children. To hear some talk, they spent every waking moment outside, forming rampaging hordes in search of the day’s entertainment. We suspect the truth is a little less dramatic.

Besides, summer for today’s adults wasn’t what it was for their parents and grandparents, either. Fewer people turn entirely to farm work during the summer months than a couple generations back. It has, increasingly, become a season of leisure for youth.

We’re fine with that. If summer has gone more toward relaxation, the academic year has certainly gone the other direction. Students today are tested within an inch of their lives in many cases, and there are far fewer digital dogs to eat their online reports than there were convenient pets in prior generations.

Summer will mean a lot more kids outside during the day, though, and people will need to pay closer attention. The predictable rush of students to and from school will give way to much less predictability, and greater numbers, in areas in which drivers aren’t used to watching out. An extra dose of caution, particularly in residential areas, is advisable.

Fireworks will go on sale soon as the Fourth of July approaches. They can be a lot of fun for families, but common sense can help keep things a lot safer. It doesn’t take a lot to reduce the risk, though people are well advised to remember that there is no such thing as no-risk fireworks. Please follow both the safety advice of experts and the local regulations regarding fireworks use.

For the students, we hope this is a summer to remember. We hope they take the chance to rest and recharge after a longer-than-expected school year. Get outside. Enjoy what can be a beautiful time of year in Iowa.

And, no, we don’t see the harm in a couple extra rounds in front of whatever game console the family has. More and more colleges are forming competitive gaming teams. The costs associated with higher education today make it hard to argue against taking a shot at anything that can lower the bill.

The end is near. Classes will soon cease for a couple months. Enjoy the break.