Adapting the Work Environment During a Pandemic



WORKING DURING A PANDEMIC- The pandemic has been an opportunity for students to attain their first jobs. Yet, while also learning the value of hard work, students must follow safety precautions to slow the spread of Covid-19. “My work environment is different because we only allow 3 customers in the building at a time, there is a plexiglass sheet in between me and the customers, and we need to have masks and gloves at all times,” cashier, Kenneth Lara, said.

Leslie Quintana, Social Media Editor

March 13, 2020. LAUSD announced schools were to close for what the district thought was going to be two weeks as COVID-19 cases were beginning to rise. Those two weeks turned into nearly a year, changing students and teachers daily lives drastically.


It began by learning to adapt to the new lifestyle of social-distancing, wearing masks at all times when out in public, carrying hand sanitizer everywhere, not attending gatherings of 10 or more, etc. Classes switched from in-person to online school via Zoom, resulting in teachers adjusting their lessons to accommodate virtual instruction. 


Remote learning has impacted the daily lives of teachers, too—their homes, their personal escape, has now become their work space. “My daily routine is so dullll!…Every morning, my husband and I have to rearrange the house a bit for distance learning…This is because he is a teacher too, and we both spend all day on Zoom,” Ms. Arslin, a psychology teacher, said. 


 Teachers spend countless hours sitting in front of a computer screen hosting classes or planning for the following days; much of their time is spent accommodating their new lifestyle that simultaneously takes away from their free time. “Anyways, then I start classes. I don’t stand up from like 9-2:10… At 2:10 [p.m.]. I have joint office hours with Ms. Carvajal…. I close the computer around 5:30 to make dinner. I go back on for two or three more hours after that. I’m not a very efficient worker, especially at home,” Arslin said. 


However, this pandemic hasn’t been all bad news. Some teens like myself have been able to attain their first job. “…for me it is not really a difference because I never worked before the pandemic so… it is all a new experience. All I know is if the pandemic never happened, then I probably wouldn’t be working right now,” Kenneth Lara, a senior, said.


 In November, 2020, I got hired at Walmart as a front end associate. Similar to Lara’s situation, I am not familiar with what a work environment is like in normal circumstances. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot from working amidst a pandemic, in an environment where I interact with the public on a daily basis. 


Being a cashier does increase my risks of contracting COVID-19 because  of the constant interactions. However, there are always risks involved when stepping out of the house. “It’s a 50/50 [chance of contracting the virus] because Maywood does have a high COVID-19 case count, but at the same time, you take a risk just stepping out of the house everyday,” Lara said. 


The thought of interacting with a person with COVID-19 never leaves my mind while I process customers transactions, but it has taught me to be more cautious of myself and surroundings. 


 Because of the pandemic, student’s daily routines were modified from in-person to remote settings, from only school to managing school and a job. Everyone has been affected; it is just a matter of learning how to adapt until the pandemic passes and things return to normal.