NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Virus delivers an unfair blow to NECC students

President Donald Trump and the United States Federal Government forgot about college students when they came up with the CARES Act.
The $2 trillion aid package made multiple earmarked billions for giant institutions and small businesses. It granted adults an instant $1200 plus $500 for each of their dependent children. Plus, those making upwards of $800 per week through unemployment claims picked up an extra $600 per week from the federal government to help in the COVID-19 crisis.   
The one group which received no relief? Any college student who remains a dependent of someone else, receives nothing, no aid, no help, nothing. The stimulus package overlooks many Northern Essex Community College students and has certainly had a ripple effect in these trying times.  
“I feel like we are being overlooked and it is not fair,” freshman Jose Baez said. “The way I look at it, we need money as much as anyone does, more than a lot of people. How could they forget us?”  (Editor’s Note: There are CARES funds available to colleges. NECC has accessed some funds and says they will work to distribute some to students.)
Coronavirus effects on college students has been more than just a switch from learning in the classroom to classes online. For those with a part-time jobs, it has produced quite the strain.  
Others saw their normally safe, quiet jobs in fast food or at a store suddenly become dangerous.  
“I work at Market Basket,” freshman Todd Randall said. “This has been crazy to go in and work. I’m lucky to have a job, and I know that. And Market Basket has been great trying to protect us. But it’s still a little scary. I need the job, so I just go to work and do all I can to be safe and smart, you know all the things they’ve been telling us to do.”  
Students with jobs in food service have taken on an extra strain as takeout and deliveries have become so important to some families during these times. But that comes with public interaction, even in these times of a so-called “surge” according to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Precautions are taken with gloves, masks and extra care, but uncertainty remains. 
That is only one type of uncertainty that NECC students must and will have to continue to deal with. “What happens when the semester ends?” asked sophomore Xavier Rhodes of Lawrence. “I thought I had a summer job all lined up. Now that’s up in the air. If I don’t make money this summer, I’m not sure how I am going to pay for school.” 
With so many people unemployed due to the pandemic, work could be hard to find for college students. The governor has not spoken of exactly when the area would open, meaning getting back to business. Simply put, this virus may not physically have a huge impact on students. Still, the emotional, financial and mental impact has been and could continue to be vicious.