The release will be made when it’s ready. GSoC does not make us move back in that regard. With the newly set up Gerrit tool, it is much easier to manage a separate release branch, and we may even prepare it before the GSoC coding period starts (we have about 3 months left).
If GSoC and GCI were reasons for delaying the release, we would never make any release: these two programs keep us busy year-round, anyways (this year the GSoC application period opened just as GCI students were sending their final tasks).
But Haiku isn’t a single-man project, so while I am org. admin in GSoC (and scottmc is org. admin for GCI), someone else can take care of the release work.
I’m more worried about kallisti5 moving houses, and mmlr being very busy with paid work again, as we need a little help from them to set up the package repositories for the release. Whenever they can dedicate some time to this we can start the release process.