UNR students and workers respond to how Covid-19 has affected U.S. work and travel

Experts and students provide insight into their travel activities as a result of the pandemic

Written by Sydney Fischer

The Coronavirus has impacted Nevada and the United States through travel, leaving some with frustrations while others remain optimistic about remaining remote.

Forbes states America contains less than five percent of the population worldwide, but more than 20 percent of Covid-19 fatalities, demonstrating the impact Covid-19 has left nationally.

“Our whole entire area has been really impacted by the Covid impacts on the tourism industry,” Malieka Bordigioni, Economics professor at UNR says. “Nevada is second only to the state of Hawaii in terms of job losses and revenue lost because of the percentage that tourism plays in the overall economy.”

However, adults and students have also been able to work; through the development of remote jobs, tourism and work have continued. Other workers that were able to find multiple opportunities throughout the pandemic found it a good way to distract themselves from the anxieties of the pandemic.

“We had about 1,500 students last spring that had to leave their study abroad experience and return home,” Alyssa Nota, President of USAC says. “Luckily, they were able to finish their academic credits successfully from home through USAC, so that was a successful transition. Overall, USAC generally sends about 4,500 students abroad each year from all around the U.S.”

Alyssa notes that, despite this lowering of attendance, she is glad the number of students studying abroad has slowly increased.

“I’ve been fortunate enough where I still have been able to work,” Charles Dunn, a student attending the UNR says. “When Covid first hit, I worked with a company called InstaCart, which is a grocery delivery service. Covid actually made more of a need, because some people may be more at risk so it created more opportunity. With my student government job, I was able to do that from home. It had a positive impact.”

“For a time, I was okay with online. It was with a job I had at UNR, but, when I took the semester off, they also had to put my job on hold until I am back enrolled in classes,” Emma Jensen, a current student at UNR states. “My current job, I’m a substitute teacher for a private school down the road. It’s not that hard and it’s a private school so it’s a very small amount of kids. They get having to be behind the plastic dividers. No one got sick- no positives and no issues.”

The Reno Gazette-Journal looks at the local impact Covid-19 has had on Nevada jobs, stating that, “Gambling Revenue is now down 36 percent”. However, on a national level, CNN states that the job market is currently operating 83 percent higher compared to March 2020, a significant improvement from last year.

The Coronavirus has affected the University Study Abroad Consortium, or USAC locally and nationally. Workers in the USAC building have decreased the ability to study abroad currently. This has frustrated students wanting to travel that are afraid they won’t be able to before they graduate. The following is a quote from a UNR student going through a separate study abroad program.

“It’s been horrible. Originally, back in spring or in March, right before Covid, I got accepted into the Oxford Study Abroad program, and I was supposed to go in Fall 2020,” Emma continues. “Travelling all the way from the U.S., having to figure out flights and spending money on that, and the whole ordeal just gets frustrating, so I differed it to spring.”

Emma states two strong feelings she has associated with this issue are frustration and unknowingness.

“Obviously it’s not safe to travel right now so, therefore, I haven’t been going on any trips,” Charles says. “I think, in general, I’m being more self-conscious of people around me and just masking up.”

Workers within the USAC building have run into difficulties while, at the same time, found positive opportunities to work and support students.

“The silver lining to all of this is, as a field, we are finding new ways when we are teaching and learning for students to have that international experience wherever they are,” Alyssa says. “As an organization and a field, we want to make sure that those things will continue in the future even after students can study abroad again or more than they are right now.”

“I think it’s just really important to note that international students coming to our school and having our students be able to travel internationally have a lot of benefits beyond just the direct benefits of what they spend out of pocket,” Malieka says. “It’s also lost opportunity for cultural exchange, collaboration, and also future employment opportunities.”

As individuals address these issues, some hope for a different environment that will allow them to return to their normal lives. Others have found positive ways to look at the pandemic and enjoy remote work and life.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikepatton/2020/10/12/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-us-economy-and-financial-markets/?sh=7d0acf3f2d20

https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2020/12/15/nevada-tourism-rebound-timeline-covid-pandemic-effect/6483565002/

https://www.cnn.com/business/us-economic-recovery-coronavirus

Malieka Bordigioni: Phone number: (775) 784–1913, Email: maliekal@unr.edu

Charles Dunn: Phone number: (702) 808–5634, Email: charlesdunn@nevada.unr.edu

Emma Jensen: Phone number: (702) 280–4571, Email: emmalunaj@gmail.com

Alyssa Nota: Phone number: (775) 784–6569, Email: Alyssa.nota@usac.edu

26 March, 2021. Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Sydney Fischer

Junior at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in political science and journalism.