Students on the frontline

Nadia Abouchanab, Editor and Cheif

With the coronavirus outbreak cancelling schools temporarily, it does not enable the students who have jobs to just stop working.

Although schools have been cancelled, preventing students from being in crowds, many students still put themselves on the frontline with their part time jobs: pharmacies, grocery stores,etc.  

Junior Kristina Daponte works at Stop and Shop in the north end of New Bedford.

“It’s scary but still business as usual, Daponte said. “There’s protective measures in place to keep everyone safe so that helps too,” said by Daponte. “The employees have masks and gloves along with glass in front of the registers, one way traffic in the aisles, and no self serve stations” Daponte said. 

To add on to the work of students in grocery stores, Sofia Bibars, college student at Providence College, ,works at Stop and Shop in the south end of New Bedford said they wipe down the register after every three customers. 

“It’s a bit time consuming and may be a hassle for customers, but it is better to be safe at a time like this,” Bibars said. 

Senior Mandy Braga said, “Working 55 plus hours a week at Market Basket is very stressful for me and the workers because we are putting our lives out on the frontline to make sure our community is supplied with essential necessities. However, it is a worry. I am afraid I’ll contract the virus and bring it home to my family.”

In regard to safety precautions, similar to ones discussed, employees wear gloves and masks along with sanitation of the conveyor belt every time a customer passes through, Plexiglass shields for every register, and a line customers have to wait behind, explained by Braga. 

Junior Kaeleigh Sousa works at Walgreens and has mixed feelings about working in general.

“I feel anxiety about working during the outbreak because of my own safety, knowing that I work at a place that’s a one-on-one environment,” Sousa said.

It is an apparent pattern that students and people in general during this outbreak are scared of any type of human interaction, which is understandable. 

“Working at a store where there’s constant people around does mean a higher risk of me catching the virus. Nevertheless, I am grateful for being able to still work as many are not able to,” Sousa said. 

Most importantly, Sousa highlighted that Walgreens has made it top priority for the safety of their employees and customers.

“We have implemented new codes such as code S (sanitization) meaning we must clean every surface and door knob in the building, but also are required to wear masks and gloves- we have markings for 6ft distance on the floor and screens at the register to ensure a safe distance is achieved,” Sousa said in a text message.

Gwen Fitzgerald, sophomore at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, works at Autumn Glen in Dartmouth and said she is proud to be able to help a community at a time like this.

“Safety precautions we take include taking employees’ temperature before they enter, masks/gloves, and signing in/out,” Fitzgerald said in a text message.