Practicum work experience impacted by COVID restrictions


Photo By: Kimberly Rosales Mancio

Seniors Tristan McDonald and Rashaun Brunson work on skills in the radiology lab. Normally, they would be able to practice skills on sites. But, because of the pandemic, they are restricted to only being able to practice those skills on campus.

When COVID hit for the first time, many people lost their jobs and livelihoods. The virus hit the working middle class particularly hard. People who work 9-5 with 40 or more hour work weeks, with a family to support, struggled. The US jobs report for April 2020 states that 20.6 million jobs were lost, resulting in an unemployment rate of 14.7%, a level not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Some students have plunged into the unknown, supporting their families by joining the workforce. Some have gotten their first jobs, some are finally returning to their old ones, some have opened their own business, and a few have the luxury of beginning their internships. 

The district has placed restrictions on student work programs, such as the campus’ practicum classes. Because of these restrictions, practicum students have had to find other means of finishing certifications and obtaining work experience. 

Our dental and nursing students are unfortunately stuck only to the classroom, physically and virtually. 

“At the start of this year, I knew that the way we were going to learn was going to be so different,” senior Litzy Fuerte said, relating to work experience with the nursing pathway “ Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, we could not do any hands-on learning anymore, which all of the interns miss a lot, but Mrs. Nichols has still managed to help us prepare and study for our exams. She has made it very easy for us to get all of the information we need.”

Students went into this year full of expectations that, unfortunately, could not be met.

“Since my freshman year, I have always wanted to be in the CNA program, and here I am in the middle of a pandemic, not getting the full experience,” senior Genevieve Castruita said.

Judson’s animal system practicum is facing a different situation. Upon completing the exam, students have one year to complete 300 hours of work experience to finish their certification. Because of the district’s restrictions on using class time for internships, students have to use their (personal) time to complete their hours. As a safety precaution, only virtual students have permission to use their off period to work, as they do not risk exposing the student body to COVID. 

“I was expecting this year to go smoothly since it is my senior year. However, having to get hours outside of school is more stressful since we do not have the teacher’s help in person,” senior Ofelia Perez said. 

Despite many disappointments that happened this year, there are students who are thankful for what they have gotten to experience.

“I am so lucky to have been in the animal system practicum. It has pushed me towards my career, along with leading me to do and learn many great things,” senior Melissa Perez said.

While every year can be unpredictable, 2020 and 2021 are truly the years unknown. The darkness that is these times allowed the persevering light of many Judson students to shine. Through their hard work and determination, these students represent not only their school or their district but their community with pride.


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