Student jobs must adapt in the age of COVID-19

Queens Pub

The pandemic has forced everyone to adjust to a new normal. With an uncertain future ahead of us, student jobs mustn’t cease to exist, but adapt.

Last week, the AMS rescinded some conditional offers of employment for students this fall, citing COVID-19 concerns. While this was a possibility from the start, the layoffs leave students high and dry at a time when they may have heightened needs for financial support.

With the continuing pandemic, and strict reopening guidelines set by the University and the Campus Operations Group (COG), it’s inevitable that campus facilities won’t be running at full capacity—or, in the case of TAPS, at all—but that doesn’t mean the AMS can’t offer alternative opportunities.

For many students, on-campus jobs prove to be the only viable employment opportunities available. Downtown businesses are a trek from campus and don’t always hire students. AMS jobs, on the other hand, are designed for students, allowing them flexible hours and employment close to home. These jobs are crucial, especially for students who depend on its income for rent and bills.

Students this summer also faced limited employment options and, as a result, may have limited savings going into the semester. Some are stuck in leases for their Kingston houses despite not being here to live in them. Students suffered financially this summer as much as anyone else, making the loss of employment opportunities a bitter pill to swallow.

The pandemic may be out of the AMS’s control, but with no clear end in sight, the AMS is going to have to adapt these jobs if it hopes to give students the financial support they deserve, whether that be by offering curbside pickup for Queen’s Pub and TAPS, or alternative forms of employment entirely. COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear by the end of the year; student jobs shouldn’t be cut out entirely, but instead worked around the current circumstances.

Going forward, the AMS should recognize how important its student jobs are and exhaust all possible solutions to replace them.

Additionally, the student body should pay careful attention to future executives’ plans for working around COVID-19 before electing them in January.

With maintained tuition, sparse summer employment, and online classes, students have suffered enough over the last few months. The AMS needs to start adapting future campus jobs to be as COVID-friendly as possible.

Student jobs aren’t just convenient but vital—let’s start acting like it.

—Journal Editorial Board

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