Working through a pandemic


Photo provided by: Photo Provided by Shelby Gay

Senior Shelby Gay poses at her workplace, Chick-fil-a, in her uniform and mask.

Kyra Martin, Staff Reporter

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At the beginning of the pandemic, many people had the luxury of working and attending school from home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Essential businesses, however, would remain open, and all of their employees would have to continue working. As a result, many students and teachers who were considered essential workers continued to work through the pandemic. 

On Wed. April 1, Governor Ron DeSantis announced which businesses would be closed that Friday, and which businesses were deemed necessary. Essential businesses included grocery stores, restaurants, and health-care facilities. While these workers are risking exposure to the virus, they also have to consider the risk of spreading it to loved ones. Senior Shelby Gay has been working at Chick-fil-A for over a year and continued working through the pandemic. 

“Some doubts I had about returning to work are that the customers do not really care about the workers there and sometimes can be disrespectful to workers,” Gay said. “I did not know how they would react to them having to swipe their own cards, wear a mask, and not cough in your face.” 

 A number of students found themselves in a unique situation where they were finally old enough to work, but they had to decide whether or not they felt safe enough to interact closely with new coworkers and the strangers they would be serving. For example, junior Paige Horn works with one-year-olds at Wekiva Children’s Academy.

“I got hired during the pandemic,” Horn said. “I knew that it was a risk, but I also knew that [the kids at the preschool] needed teachers and I was ready to work with those kids. With some of their parents being essential workers, those children had no other place to go, and I was willing to take that chance for them.”

There are also teachers who have had unique roles in working on the front lines of the virus. Athletic Trainer and Physical Science teacher, Joel Chisholm began working at  Advent Health that tests for COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic when there was a need for licensed healthcare professionals to help with testing. His unique experience means that he has regular interactions with people who have or believe they have the virus. 

“The individuals that have symptoms usually do the responsible thing now and stay home, wear masks or seek help,” Chisholm said. “It is the asymptomatic individuals that have everyone blinded with a false sense of security.”