Students face unemployment amid COVID-19 outbreak

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the world, students have found their lives being flipped upside down by the closing of school, businesses, and loss of jobs.

“My work has closed,” Lily Dunlap, 12, a waitress at Jim’s said. “Before closing, we switched to to-go orders only and our sales dropped significantly.”

Most places of employment took extra measures to ensure safety by increasing sanitation efforts and most restaurants closed their dining rooms.

“Sanitation has always been a really big deal for them, so not much changed other than the crowd levels being slightly lower,” performer at Seaworld Lindsey Wallace, 12, said.

After the shelter in place went into effect, students that didn’t work at essential businesses lost their job for the time being.

“The hardest part has been not having an income,” Dunlap said. “I pay for my auto insurance and I use the money to save up for college. My job was where I would get the most of my money to pay for college tuition.”

While some companies closed without offering any help to their employees, others continue to pay their employees, even when they’re closed.

“Everyone, part-time and full time, remains to get paid and we have been kept very up to date with the situation,”  Wallace said. “I’ve been rehearsing on my own and staying in contact with my stage manager and dance captains.”

Other students have found themselves completely out of a job as closing businesses are laying people off.

Graph of the dramatic increase in unemployment in the United States.

“Due to COVID-19 and nobody coming in [they] had to cut staffing,” Lola Colin, 11, a previous employee at Coldstone, said. “I’m not getting a new job until this is less crazy.”

Businesses and jobs closing hasn’t been the only thing affecting students. Being stuck at home and unable to attend school has taken a toll on students as well.

“Schools closing has been hard on [my] family since everyone is working at home,” Dunlap said. “My siblings and I also feel like we aren’t learning as well and we don’t like online school.”

The virus has made students anxious to get back to school and work as they give students an outlet for socialization.

“I love my job,” Wallace said. “I get paid to do what I love and make people happy. I miss seeing my unofficial family and getting to dance with them every day.

While waiting for businesses to reopen, people are encouraged to look for temporary employment at essential businesses and file for unemployment.

“Before [we] reopen, I’m trying to apply to other jobs to temporarily work at,” Dunlap said. “The only thing my job has done is recommend we go to the Texas Workforce Commission.”

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About Jessica Harden

Hey, I'm Jessica Harden and this is my third year on staff. I am the editor-in-chief, I compete in academic UIL journalism, and I am a nationally recognized journalist. Outside of newspaper, I play the flute and I am the drum major. I like to write poetry, I collect vintage cameras, and I dream of being a published author one day. I will attend UT Austin in the fall majoring in journalism at Moody College and I plan on taking a minor in environmental science. Hook 'Em!

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