Students on working jobs during a world-wide pandemic

Jobs for high school students are already super important, but how does one go about working in the midst of a global pandemic?

Senior Nichole Tanner works at Menchies in Cedar Falls. She began working at the end of August, right in the middle of all of this craziness going on. The adjustments in her job include wearing masks, enforcing the mask mandate for customers as well, doing a lot of extra cleaning and being aware of using hand sanitizer as frequently as she could. 

A lot of the adjustments haven’t really changed the actual job. “There’s not a lot for us to do as employees as far as interaction with the customers. We’re just ringing up their ice cream. They’re serving themselves,” Tanner said. 

Masks are already part of normal life so that wasn’t that much of a difference as well. “Honestly, not much at least from where I’m standing simply because at this point we’re all used to masks. It’s something that we have to wear at school all the time. You have to wear them in most other stores. The only thing I would say that negatively affects is trying to hear other people or when you’re speaking to them like asking them questions like ‘Would you like your receipt?’ because you know they can’t see your your lips moving. We have to speak loud, which for me is a challenge because I speak softly,” Tanner said.

“I think since I kind of already expected to start having to wear masks all the time, especially with school, it didn’t really phase me that much. There’s not a whole lot of difference in my job, specifically just the masks, and it’s not that big of a deal for me anyways, so it’s been a pretty pretty easy adjustment,” Tanner said 

Junior Josiah Bailey works at Marcus Theaters in Waterloo. The protocols that have been put into place at that building also include masks, and all employees also get their temperatures taken before every shift they have. 

Other adjustments include hand sanitizer and gloves for making food, all customers have to wear a mask in the lobby before they go watch their movie, greeters at the door to give customers hand sanitizer and checking to make sure they’re wearing masks. The theater also has tape on chairs in the auditorium so customers can maintain social distancing. 

Bailey’s main role at the theater is behind the concessions to make all of the food, run the cash register and direct people to where they need to go. 

Going into this job right in the middle of all the craziness going on was just very unknown to Bailey. “I think it was just an uncertain thing because of COVID-19 and also not knowing whether or not we would be open for a very long amount of time, so that affected whether or not I knew that I was going to be able to stay at that job for long,” Bailey said.  

He said relationships with your coworkers during COVID can be super uncertain but still can be fun. “I think it’s actually been a ton of fun to get to know the employers and my coworkers because behind concessions, if you’re not busy, then you are just there with them, and that brings about conversation and other things, which is super fun, but it’s definitely a lot harder to maybe relate to them especially with the masks. It’s hard to hear, and it’s also difficult knowing whether or not they have symptoms or don’t have symptoms and stuff like that, so it’s all stuff that you have to think about, but it’s also a ton of fun to get to know them more,” Bailey said.

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