By Taichi Shimizu
Caption: Mrs. Korn’s daughter Angie is hard at work at home during the shutdown.
As CoronaVirus spread worldwide earlier this year, many people had to change their working styles. I interviewed four people, David Cheon (junior) who attends WEHS, Rachel Rosenthal, senior, who has a part-time job, Mrs. Korn, who teaches chemistry at WEHS, and Yasu who works at UB, and asked them five questions. Let’s hear what they had to say.
I first asked them if they were considered an essential worker. All of them said no or not sure. David said he’s a “student” and it’s clearly not an essential worker. Students cannot do many things to help the doctors or patients in the hospitals. Mrs. Korn stated that “Clearly teachers are not essential people who are sick or to help provide food.” But she thinks education is very important and it is “essential that students continue to learn.” She thinks that teachers are very important for students especially during this quarantine. Yasu said he’s not an “essential worker” but he’s working for a company that “produces medical goods, such as toothpaste.” In terms of promoting a healthy life, he’s kind of a helper for not spreading the virus. Rachel said she is not considered one because it’s not her job to help patients. These five people have different jobs and things to do, and they work for themselves and also others.
So I asked them if they think they should be considered what they are. Some of them said yes and others said no. David said yes and he thinks “students are considered what they are.” One of my other friends stated in her answer, “I do not think I should be considered one.” As she stated above her job is not related to medical fields. She works at a store and she goes in and just looks around the shop. Mrs. Korn said in her interview that she considers the teacher as people who provide “essential service” for others, especially for students. “ Teachers are providing students an opportunity to continue learning and maintain some semblance of normalcy during this pandemic,” she said. Yasu mentioned that he’s not sure if he should be considered one. Even though he is working for a medical company his working field doesn’t necessarily relate with the COVID-19.
And many things changed these couple months and companies adjusted their working environment and changing circumstances. Let’s hear how their employer handled these changing circumstances. David Cheon said the school changed their styles of instructions. “They changed everything online, such as google classroom, WITS, and Zoom meetings.” He continued, “They decided to give assignments to students to keep working on school work.” He said it’s obvious that the school had adjustments as the pandemic happens. Rachel stated that she “receives the email for updated information” and keeps organized for everything. Mrs. Korn receives different help from the district. She says both students and teachers get help from the district such as food, Chromebooks, etc.. Also Yasu had many changes in their working style. Yasu said in his interview that “my employer promoted us to work for most of the time.” He said he would have to stay at home and do the work there including the meeting.
As the virus spread everywhere many people changed their way of thinking against the world. I then questioned them, “Has the virus changed the perception of your occupation (can it be done from home otherwise)?” Many people were on the “no” side. Mrs. Korn considers that education needs direct interaction between teachers and students. Also, she said, “students need the emotional academic support from teachers that can only be provided in person.” Yasu also stated that it’s hard to do the lab from home because of the difficulty of collecting materials for the lab and gathering data. David says it might take hard time getting back to normal. “The school and students might be aware of similar situations like this and they want to prevent this.”
Lastly I asked them the question which I think is very important. How do you think your work or school will change once everything returns to normal in order to prevent/prepare for a similar event in the future? Yasu stated that “most of the work will be done online but some of the work will still be at the office such as the lab.” It’s really hard to do the lab at home as I stated in the last paragraph. David thinks, “Everything will be back to normal except for distancing.” He thinks the mind that we should prevent spreading the virus will remain for a while. Rachel said “I think we will be taking more precaution for everyone’s safety.” Mrs Korn said, “we might see a smaller size of classes.” Everyone thinks the effects of this virus and this pandemic will have a big impact on everything.
They had different opinions and thoughts on the pandemic but, basically, they expect the pandemic to end and have a normal life back. Overall, people think safety should be first before returning to work.