COVID-19 changes jobs on campus, students speak up

COVID-19 regulations have created differing opinions among student workers about how job supervisors on campus are enforcing the proper guidelines.

Student and Staff Employment Specialist Audrey Turner explained how the College is approaching student jobs.

“The concern is being able to provide as safe of a workplace as possible. The Community Standards, testing protocols, use of the ProtectWell app, and the COVID-19 Employee Safety training have all been implemented to support a safe work environment,” Turner said.

Emilie Hapgood ’21 works at the Admissions Office and weighed in on how COVID-19 has impacted her job.

“Admissions is doing the best they can by making tours virtual. Unfortunately, not many people are coming to visit campus right now, and there’s a lot of student workers in Admissions. That means that I have only had one shift in four weeks, so I am not really getting hours.”

In regard to other COVID-19 regulations, Hapgood had a generally positive attitude.

“My work allows me to be in my room, but they have offices set up for tour guides if they’d like a more private space,” Hapgood said. “I would say in regard to safety, I am satisfied with how they’re keeping us virtual. I can’t speak for other jobs.”

Not every student worker feels the same about their working environments. Melinde Madsen’s ’21 experience has differed from Hapgood’s.

“I work a few jobs on campus for my need-based work award,” Madsen said. “One of my jobs got moved online and a lot of hours got cut. I had to let some other workers know that they are essentially out of a job. We are already underpaid and nobody is regulating departments on the actions they are taking.”

Turner gave some insight on jobs that have been eliminated.

“Some departments had to reduce the number of jobs they were able to offer to students in order to limit the number of students in a given space to uphold physical distancing requirements,” Turner said. “Conversely, we have also seen other jobs created as a result. Bon Appetit continues to have a high need for student workers to fill open shifts.”

The pandemic may continue to affect student jobs next semester, but there is still much uncertainty around the subject.

“It is hard to say with the trajectory of the pandemic what student employment will look like for sure,” Turner said. “However, I am optimistic that we will continue to see jobs posted and available for student work.”