Illustration for Let's Get Back to Work
Illustration by Nina Walker

Let's Get Back to Work

By Martin Garcia

We are back on campus, but something is still missing.

After an entire school year of remote learning, students were eager to return to campus and interact with others in person. Face to face interactions were something that most students had gone months without thanks to COVID-19. So being back feels great.

Strolling through campus however still feels odd at times. As you walk around campus you will find that there are still 49er Shops that are closed. Walk into the University Student Union eatery and you will find that Subway and El Pollo Loco are both temporarily closed.

“It’s like a ghost town,” said Monique Garcia, public relations major. “I’m not very good at packing lunch, and it makes getting food really hard for me.”

So sure we are back on campus, but a lot of our favorite go-to places are not. The blame is certainly on COVID.

Slowly but surely these businesses will open back up. The university is preparing for this by posting job openings throughout campus. Go into the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and you will see that there are job listing posters in the main lobby for multiple positions that need to be filled. Students can also find current job openings on the Associated Students Inc. website.

COVID has prevented many of these businesses from fully opening. There is still fear amongst students to return to campus so, understandably, getting students to actually work on campus has been a challenge as noted by all of the current job openings.

Some students couldn’t wait to get back to working on campus.

“Working on campus is super fun because you are able to interact with people on a personal level,” said Isabella Kinney, administrative assistant for 22 West.“Working from home can be a little lonely because you really only talk to people on Zoom calls and most of the time not everyone has their cameras on so there is really a big disconnect.”

Students who work on campus practice strict health and safety protocols set by the university to meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. These guidelines include wearing face coverings, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, employee symptom checks, and employee COVID prevention training.

Although students have lost hours due to Covid over the past year, things are taking a turn for the better.

“COVID hasn’t affected my hours, I started working at the beginning of the school year and we had the option of working from home or from the office,” said Kinney.

Before students and faculty are allowed to return to campus however, there are requirements that have to be met. Proof of vaccination against COVID has to be submitted before hand, and for every day that the student or faculty member is on campus, they are required to submit a COVID pre-screen. If the student or faculty member is feeling ill or if they have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID, it is recommended that they stay home until they receive a negative test result for the safety of others on campus.

So while it is odd to see so many of our favorite places on campus still closed, it is encouraging to see that there are job opportunities available to hopefully open these shops and restaurants in the near future.