SAN MARCOS, TX – Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought drastic changes to class formats at Texas State University, it also had a significant impact on the students with on-campus jobs. The various adjustments that students, staff, and faculty had to make to keep everybody safe brought a lot of pressure and uncertainty.
Every individual had to adjust to a completely new way of interacting with one another. Meeting online through software such as Zoom and Teams was a solution that was quickly introduced and utilized by universities across the country, including Texas State. As there are hundreds of positions occupied by students on and around campus, the circumstances and struggles for each person varied.
Jernice Kelley, a content creator at KTSW, expressed the difficulties that moving online brought to the radio station.
“Our entire department couldn’t have in-person meetings, interviews, or events. If we wanted to collaborate at all, we had to do so virtually. This made things pretty difficult because of technology issues. and not knowing how to use the platforms in general.”
All in-person classes and activities will resume in the upcoming 2021 fall semester. Until then, the campus continues to operate with social distancing guidelines and mask mandates in place.
Making adjustments for students participating in work-study was an unexpected challenge for the faculty members at Texas State. Work-study jobs offer students priority to positions on campus, awarded through financial aid, for them to better focus on their studies. These positions were paid through the initial shutdown that took place during the spring 2020 semester, but staff and faculty had three months over the summer to implement CDC guidelines and develop a plan for the socially distanced environment that would begin in the fall. A lot of careful consideration was required to prepare for a new and unfamiliar situation that put pressure to ensure safety for everybody involved. Faculty, staff, and Student workers currently operate under these same guidelines until the campus is 100% open again.
Naomi Wilson, an administrative assistant for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State, had to have a lot of understanding with her student workers when classes moved online.
“It was a struggle. I needed to extend a lot of grace and be conscientious of what other people were going through. I wanted to be fair and not an added layer of stress. Leniency was really important.”
The campus was not the only thing that shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. Coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and other places where students commonly gather to study and socialize were closed. Students were left without jobs and with a lot of uncertainty about the future.
Arek Thompson, a psychology student at Texas state who works off-campus as a server, expressed how the pandemic affected his balance between work and school.
“It was unpredictable. Fewer people would come in as cases rose, and vice versa. It was hard to focus on school when this would happen because I had to worry about how I was going to pay my bills.”
For more information on how COVID-19 has affected Texas State University and its community, visit their website.