To All Essential Workers: Thank You

Gustavo Contreras/Staff Writer

For the first time, a global pandemic is starting to affect young students.   

With the transition to remote learning, and with the government actively enforcing “Stay at Home” orders, it is crucial to acknowledge, thank and represent those who adjust to current conditions and still work, even while taking online classes. 

Food and service workers are the social front-line for society, as they still come in contact with hundreds of citizens a day. With current events getting worse, workers must abide by new safety guidelines that weren’t originally part of their job.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding our society, this unseeable virus can make working through a global pandemic feel like Minesweeper—an incorrect move can make the situation head south. 

In as recent as 2015, it was reported that an estimated 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours a week while at school. Today, there are still students that have to work with the havoc of remote learning while doing shifts at a store. 

8th Street Campus Kitchen, for instance, is open and, throughout the COVID-19 crisis its supportive workers have adjusted to only accepting takeout and disabling seating to combat the spread.

Unlike stores, hospitals will still need to be operational. The United States currently has 374,329 cases for COVID-19, the most of any country. Because of high volumes of testing, hospitals have significantly increased working hours to fight the virus and preserve lives, creating an overload of work. 

At FIU, the University opened a coronavirus drive-thru testing site for symptomatic patients that would like to get tested for COVID-19, and CAPS is working remotely

Doctors and medical staff, who risk exposure to the virus when tending to patients, should be given recognition in their efforts to fight the global pandemic. But there should be more than just thank you’s for those who still work; we should do our part. 

It seems unfair to praise workers for their work in hazardous conditions but not reward them or provide any aid. Politicians responding to the crisis with “gratefulness to the workers” doesn’t fix anything or save those who are falling ill.

As a society, social distancing functions to flatten the curve, meaning that we can combat the rate of infection to lower the number of patients to a manageable load. Of course, it’s natural to go out. But, going out while wearing proper gear and maintaining a safe distance outside shows that not only are you being considerate of your own health, but of the health of others. By flattening the curve, we can make an effort to help our medical staff and service workers. 

We should show our appreciation to essential workers through not only encouragement and gratefulness, but by also covering their backs.  

Featured image by MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr.

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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