From the front lines of the pandemic to the front rows of lecture halls: The shift from essential worker to student

Many students spent the past several months in isolation with occasional trips to the grocery store. Others spent that time working in those grocery stores and various businesses that governors deemed essential.

As witnessed on national news on several different occasions, essential student workers have been subjected to behaviors from the public that some of their peers did not have to experience. This could change some students’ opinions on returning to campus.

Junior Sammi Frankel was an essential worker. She worked at a grocery store during the past several months and said her experience was stressful.

“A lot of the time customers were not obeying social distancing or even wearing a mask,” Frankel said.

Despite the stresses encountered at her job, Frankel has not lost hope in having a positive experience on campus.

“Coming on campus I feel a lot safer because I know everyone is being tested regularly and the mask policy will be enforced,” Frankel said. “I think otherwise it’s the same risk level because there will still be people who expose themselves to the virus that come onto campus. It’s inevitable and the risk is low enough that our campus experience can be a safe and positive one.”

With this kind of mindset, it seems possible for RWU to have a happy and healthy semester. Most of the student essential workers are used to wearing a mask for extended periods of time during their shifts, so the mask policy is not a new concept. For the students who are new to wearing a mask for more than the amount of time it takes to grab some groceries, there may be an adjustment period but it won’t take long for mask-wearing to become second nature.