Student employees at Meadowlark Hills receive vaccine

Julianna Poe , Trending Editor

Amid phase one of the COVID-19 vaccinations, students who work at Meadowlark Hills received their first dose on Jan. 2.

“I’m glad I got [the] opportunity [for a vaccination] so I can keep everyone in the household and [my] peers safe,” senior Andi Tanner said.

During the school year, student employees at Meadowlark typically work two to three shifts a week. Each week, each employee is tested twice for COVID-19 and their temperature must be taken before coming into work. While on the job, everyone there is expected to wear a K95 mask and social distance.

“Where I work, they … keep their staff as safe as possible with protocols,” Tanner said. “I know some people are scared when I tell them where I work and who I work with because of COVID.”

Before COVID-19, residents at the nursing home were invited to dine at the Meadowlark Hills restaurant while employees served them food. Now, the restaurant is no longer open to sit-down services and job responsibilities are more focused on delivery purposes.

“I used to be a server, so I would wait on residents in a restaurant setting,” junior Nada Raef said. “Since COVID we have been doing delivery only and we also have a lot more responsibilities.”

Students who don’t work in the food department include certified nurse assistants. Their responsibilities center around direct care for the residents.

“Right now, I’m a … certified nurse aid in the assisted living household,” Tanner said. “I do assigned tasks like measuring vital signs and [I] provide [and] assist with their personal care.”

Working in a nursing home during a pandemic not only comes with extensive safety protocols, but also the opportunity to form bonds with the residents as well as peers.

“[The best part of my job is] meeting new people and getting to know the residents more,” Cramer said.

One way the community can help those who live in nursing homes stay healthy is to stay home as much as possible. According to Cramer, it is also important to make your mental health a priority.

“It’s better to stay home to protect others and also take care of [yourself] during the pandemic,” Cramer said. “For example, taking care of [your] mental health and taking time for [yourself].”

Additionally, according to Raef, remembering to wear a mask and social distance helps mitigate the spread.

“Wear your mask and social distance because a lot of people are separated from their families right now,” Raef said. “We can get out of this mess quicker by following the guidelines.”

Employees at Meadowlark will receive their second and final dose of the vaccine on Jan. 23.

“Everyone does get affected by COVID in all types of ways, either young or old,” Tanner said. “By … doing [your] part like social distancing, it helps tremendously.”