Students Opinions on Working During a Pandemic: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

September 28, 2020

The GH Falcon conducted a survey and collected our school’s answers to working during COVID-19. There were definitely mixed perspectives, but overall, most agree that their job has taken multiple safety measures and precautions towards keeping their staff and customers safe. 

Students rated how safe they feel working on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the safest)

It’s Really Cool to See the Assortment of Different Jobs Our Students Have! 

  • Harris Teeter Cashier
  • Wegmans Cashier
  • Lowes Foods Cashier
  • Wendy’s Cashier
  • Walmart Crew Member
  • McDonald’s Crew Worker
  • Starbucks Barista
  • Dairy Queen Grill Member
  • Brixx Pizza Head Hostess 
  • Tropical Smoothie 
  • La Farm Bakery 
  • Papa Johns
  • Smithfield’s Chicken Cashier 
  • Noodles and Company Kitchen Staff 
  • Zaxby’s Platinum Partner
  • Car Wash Lodge Lane Attendant
  • Blessed Beginnings Hair Care Apprentice and Hair Stylist
  • Play it Again Sports
  • Phillips Scare Farm Actor
  • Triangle Rock Club
  • CORA Food Pantry 
  • Cary Gymnastics Coach
  • Recreational Club Lifeguard and Private Swim Instructor


Some are Incredibly Dedicated To Their Job. At least, by the numbers of hours they work: 

  • “Currently 4-8ish, but in November it will be 36 hours” 
  • “5”
  • “6-12” 
  • “Around 12. Usually, I work 4 hours a day from Friday to Sunday”
  • “8”
  • “Over the summer I work 30-40, now I work 10-15”
  • “15 to 20”
  • “Anywhere from 17-22 hours”
  • “18”
  • “20 to 25”
  • “25 ish during the summer and now 15ish during the school year”
  • “25-30”
  • “Likely 27” 
  • “I work 3 days for a total of 30 hours”
  • “I used to work 30 before school started, but with school, I only do about 24 on weekends”
  • “35”
  • “Anywhere from 0 or 5-35 or 40 depending on clients. On a really good week 40 or 50” 
  • “40 or more” 
  • “24/7”


Has the Pandemic Impacted you? 

  • “At first, when COVID-19 made everything close, I wasn’t working for about a month or two.” 
  • “I took off two months due to corona.”
  • “Yes, in the beginning, my hours got cut.” 
  • “We’ve had to raise prices.” 
  • “Yeah, a lot of new policies. One of my coworkers got COVID recently, many of the people that worked there when I started to quit and so we have consistently got new people.”
  • “No real reduced hours, but the pay is slightly lower than what it was before the quarantine.” 
  • “No, because we are a grocery store always operating.”
  • “At first I had a lot fewer clients since they have to be around us for long periods of time, but now it’s probably more clients. We take a lot of safety precautions.” 
  • “I wouldn’t have been able to work this job without the pandemic. Usually, I have Marching Band Practice, football games, and competitions that would stop me from being able to have weekends off for scaring but now that I don’t have as many things going on, I am able to have this job. However, the pandemic has reduced my hours in that there are more actors for fewer positions.”
  • “Not really, we never closed. I never got any hazard pay, reduced hours, etc.” 
  • “Yes, since it’s a gym, we closed and reduced hours.” 
  • “Yes, I couldn’t work when the pandemic first started.”
  • “I actually got MORE hours!”
  • “If anything, I get more hours because there are fewer people working since the pandemic started.” 
  • “I got paid more and they are in high demand for cashiers because that is where people need to get their food. We’re ESSENTIAL!” 
  • “My hours reduced, but tips are BETTER” 


What Restrictions or Safety Precautions Has Your Work Taken? Are they Good at Enforcing These Rules? 

  • “We’ve had to clean the bathrooms and tables a lot more frequently, bathrooms every 30 minutes and tables every 15 minutes.”
  • We sanitize all cars before we get into it. We aren’t super strict about wearing masks because we work outside mainly but if it’s just the employees inside we don’t need a mask but if there are customers we have to.”
  • “We have plastic shields around all of our workspace so we are separate from customers.”
  • “We already had been cleaning everything client’s came in contact with, and no more than 2 people at appointments”
  • “My work has stopped doing indoor activities and switched to only outdoor activities. The only unsafe part is that they aren’t requiring customers or employees to wear masks which frightens me (I keep mine on all the time). They do make sure that individual groups stay 6 feet away from each other including customers and actors.”
  • “New cleaning producers and smaller class sizes, very good at enforcing and following procedures.”
  • “Every so often everyone has to stop what they’re doing and wipe down every single surface, then wash their hands and change gloves.”
  • “Handwashing at least once every hour (we have a schedule for it), always wearing gloves, and rearranging the lobby space so customers can social distance.”
  • “They check our temperature whenever we clock in. There is also a hand sanitizer at every register that we try to use after each person. They are very good at following the state guidelines.”
  • “We do an ungodly amount of sanitization.”


How has Virtual Learning made it Easier or Harder for Your Work/School Balance?

  • “Online school is much harder in general and feels like more of a workload. I seem to spend more time on school now than I did before.”
  • “It gives me more time to do my work, but we receive too many assignments and homework that’s really time-consuming.”
  • “Harder to hold yourself accountable.”
  • Harder to make connections/friends”
  • “Way harder since I’m being assigned more work than I would get if I was at school.”
  • “It’s harder during the week when I have work and go straight from online class to work”
  • “It would sound like it’s easier, but at this point, it’s hard to stay motivated.”
  • “it’s the same level of challenge.”
  • “It’s had almost no effect for me.”
  • “I think a little bit of both because it’s the same workload but I have more time since I don’t have to commute to school.”
  • “Virtual learning has made more time in my schedule so I can actually have a job and I have had more time to actually do the work. If I were in a normal school, I probably wouldn’t get home until after 6 pm-9 pm somedays causing me to work late into the night and getting very little sleep.”
  • “In some ways, easier-I don’t have a long commute now.”
  • “Virtual learning has made it a bit easier because there’s a bit more freedom when it comes to when I can do my school work. Also if I am needed I can easily go to work during school and still get assignments done.”
  • “I only work 4 hours a day after all of my school work is done. My classes are pretty manageable right now with working and school. I also like to work out so I fit that in my schedule as well.”


If you feel unsafe working, WHY?

  • “I mean since it’s outdoors I’m not too worried but the fact that they’re not forcing people to wear masks terrifies me. I know I’ll be wearing mine and I won’t get within 6 feet of the customers so I know I’ll be safe, but other people are stupid and dumb and don’t think the pandemic applies to them so I’m scared that there will be an outbreak among them.”
  • “We are supposed to stay socially distanced while working as well, however, the space we work in isn’t really big enough to have everyone working 6 feet apart.”
  • “I’m around hundreds of customers per day so that puts me at risk.”
  • “We have a lot of workers in the store at the same time, social distancing isn’t enforced and our masks are not the safest since we can choose whatever mask we want. putting a worker limit wouldn’t work though since we get insanely busy on Friday. it’s kinda funny cause we are actually busier now than before the virus and I thought it would be the complete opposite.”
  • “I quit specifically because my job wasn’t enforcing their rules enough. On a daily basis, I would encounter so many customers not wearing masks, and they would get all in my face to ask me questions. I didn’t feel like it was worth it to risk my safety.”


Whether it be positive, negative, or even neutral, there are various ways this virus has changed the way we live, and it was definitely interesting to see the perspectives that students had. Thanks for everyone that shared!