This is a crazy time and all of us are greatly affected by the corona virus. Some people may think that teenagers are blowing this all off, like we do not know what is going on. Teenagers, especially the ones with jobs, are able to see the biggest effect this is having on us.
According to statista.com, teen unemployment rates from age 16-19 has gone from 3% to 14.3% from February to March. Even teens who need or want to be employed, are losing their jobs right now.
Teenagers both who were working but are now unemployed, and those who are still working, are working especially around food, such as restaurants and grocery stores. Both are seeing the difficulties of this whole situation first-hand.
Sophomore Tanner Doberenz works at Braums. He is one of the teens in our school still working during this quarantine time of mid March through April.
“The drive-thru is crazy, all day long, and the market area is busier than I’ve ever seen it,” said Doberenz.
He is seeing people in a panic going out to buy as much as they can.
Not only are customers buying more than normal, according to this teen, but they are buying in bulk.
Junior Holden Rogers also works about 20 hours a week right now. He works at Chick-fil-A.
“Many of the customers are thanking us for working, and are also acting very nervous to touch or get near us,” said Rodgers. “Some of the changes we are [implementing], are we only use the drive-thru, and there are many family orders, and we have to be so much cleaner.”
Concern for working out in public are not slowing these teens down.
“My family doesn’t necessarily want me to stop working, but my mom might be worried,” said Doberenz.
Junior Courtnie Crayton works at Starbucks inside a grocery store. Some may think this is a tough place to be, but not Courtnie!
“I love making the coffee drinks and serving people, and I refuse to live my life in fear,” said Crayton.
Some teenagers here are seeing the increase in their work.
Rodgers, for example, said he works 20 hours a week or more. Other teens here are seeing the loss of business due to the quarantine and are being laid off.
Unlike adults, however, many teens do not qualify for the CARE Act emergency funds if they are a dependent, and they cannot receive any relief pay.
“I had to file for unemployment for the first time in my life, at the age of 17,” said Senior Naamah McGee.
McGee was laid off from her work at a local gym/workout facility. Gyms were closed in mid March, and Governor Abbott will plan to re-open them later this spring.
Senior Chloe Hughes works as a Medical Assistant for Dr. Benjamin Deheshi. She has been laid off for the time being because her particular department is not an urgent one.
“It [the lay-off] is affecting me because I love what I do with a passion,” said Hughes. “I love giving people hope who have very little to none. I know there are people out there in pain but I can’t do much, because we are locked up. To me, it’s not much about the money. Nor is it about me becoming a pain management doctor for pediatrics. I want to give hope and help to others, I want to give back what I was given.”
Hughes, was inspired to become a doctor after receiving care for a chronic condition, that she believes the Lord worked through prayer and her doctor, cured her.
She loves her work and she is not alone. So many are separated from what they love to do. Both teens and adults are able to relate to this change right now.
All of these teens are working in public and on the front lines serving others. None we talked to are planning on quitting either.
Teens might be the most prepared for this strange new kind of normal. To them, communicating through technology and schooling online is already a fairly comfortable transition.
Students must now take online classes due to national and state school closures March 16 through the end of the year, and are only able to communicate through technology.
We already have been communicating with phones, social-media, facetime, video game headsets, and all the things we have to use now. We can help teach the adults in our lives how to use this technology to communicate at this time.
No matter how we look at it, teenagers are seeing what’s going on. We are experiencing the effects of COVID-19 right along with adults. We are well-aware of the terrible effect the virus is having on people.