Students adapt to working during the pandemic

Kwik Star is one of the many businesses employing teens during the pandemic. Emily Wright photo.

Many working teens across the metro have been impacted since the pandemic hit the United States in March of 2020. Lives were completely changed and flipped upside down as the world transitioned into what would become the new normal for the time being.

Working as a young adult can be difficult under normal circumstances. Trying to balance school, a social life, a job and more can be very challenging, and working during a pandemic doesn’t help make matters easier for anyone. 

However, the majority of businesses in the metro have adapted to this new norm. Senior Taylor Williamson works at Target in Altoona. Some of the policy changes she has had to navigate since the pandemic started include mask wearing becoming mandatory, cleaning registers after every usage and spraying down door handles and carts and baskets.

She said that the biggest conflict that she personally has faced is many people are unwilling to comply with the mask mandate in her store which has created some tension between employees and customers.

Despite all of the challenges that have occurred while working during a difficult time like this, Williamson said that it has honestly become normal and it doesn’t really affect how she and her coworkers do their job. They have all adjusted over the past several months. 

Another teen, Jordan Swacker works at Kwik Star in Des Moines. She has experienced many of the same policy changes that Williamson faced. 

“Every hour we are supposed to go around and sanitize all countertops and surfaces that are touched,” Swacker said. 

Businesses have all responded differently to the circumstances. Swacker was slightly disappointed at the way her company chose to respond to this global crisis. 

“I think we responded decently but there are a lot of things I wish we would have done better,” said Swacker.