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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    How the pandemic has affected employed Gonzaga students

    The Washington Golf and Country Club has remained open despite the ongoing pandemic (Photo by Cliff on Flickr).

    By Aidan Corvo—In a teenager’s high school years, finding a job to earn money for college and to help prepare for future full time employment is extremely important. Unfortunately, for many Gonzaga students, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this much more difficult. In this past year, many students have seen their employment status changed or altered in some way. 

    John Rotondo, senior, is one of these students. Rotondo works at the Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, and his duties increased dramatically when the pandemic struck.

    “I had a lot more work to do. I’d clean off screens, [golf] balls, windows and door handles. It takes a lot more effort and work,” Rotondo said.

    Although Rotondo’s hours did not change, he was able to keep his job amid the lockdowns, and his responsibilities became much more demanding.

    Michael Tobin, senior, works at an auto body shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and he had a similar experience. While Rotondo worked before the pandemic and continued to work through it, Tobin began working in May. However, like many others throughout the country, the business faced hard times.

    “Overall, business was pretty bad. The business struggled [over the summer], and it’s still struggling,” Tobin said. 

    Additionally, due to health and safety restrictions, only one employee could speak to customers at a time, which further exacerbated the situation.

    “We’d have customers waiting while only one person could go,” Tobin said.

    The small amount of business they received was put off by the lack of customer service that was allowed during that time.

    Jonathan Howell, senior, works at a daycare called Bright Beginnings Children’s Center, and he saw significant changes as a result of the pandemic, as well. 

    “We had to reduce our class sizes to meet the regulations of having a daycare during the pandemic. We open an hour later and close an hour [earlier],” Howell stated.

    Jonathan Howell and the children he works with. (Photo submitted by Jonathan Howell)

    Additionally, Howell’s cleaning duties saw a major change. 

    “While we always cleaned every day; [the pandemic] made things a lot more tedious. We have to clean the outside playground and wipe down each doorknob at least twice a day,” Howell stated.

    These three Gonzaga students were able to keep their jobs when the pandemic was at its peak, but their experiences were far from what they expected. As vaccinations are administered and businesses continue to open, students hope that employment comes more easily in the coming months.

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