The College of Veterinary Medicine and its student workers are still working, despite the University closing. The college's teaching hospitals, located in Auburn and Gulf Shores, Alabama, have made adjustments to transition to "a period of restricted operations," according to their website.
One of these adjustments prohibits clients and visitors from entering the hospital facilities. Instead, customary in-person interactions will be conducted through telephone conversations. Routine visits will be postponed until the hospitals return to normal operations, but they will remain open for emergency services. More guidelines are listed on the website.
Adam Tapley, senior in organismal biology, said things are still relatively normal at the cat colony in the vet school, where he works every other weekend.
The cat colony is just one of the job opportunities available in the vet school for undergraduates. Every other weekend, students come in early and are tasked with cleaning rooms, feeding and doing medical treatments. A typical day looks different depending on their assigned task.
“We usually have two to three rooms to clean in whatever order we choose,” Tapley said. “It takes a few hours each day once you get in the routine. If I’m doing treatments, I have to come in at four-hour intervals throughout the day to give cats different meds that may be time sensitive, or check on any that are pregnant or giving birth.”
Operations at the colony remain the same, with a few modifications to handle the already limited human interaction.
“We are definitely keeping everything clean and washing hands and wiping door handles more than usual, but we don’t have much one-on-one contact with other people anyway, so that helps a lot.” Tapley said.
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Although other University facilities have gone remote, the employees of the vet school don’t have that option.
“I wasn’t all concerned that I’d lose my job,” Tapley said. “They were pretty upfront in saying that all facilities are still operating as normal and that we should still come in if we can.”
The animals that live at the vet school are completely dependent on the staff for food, water and essential medicine, but waking up before 6 a.m. every other weekend is not an issue for Tapley, he said.
“Knowing that we’re taking care of these animals and keeping them safe and healthy makes it worth it,” Tapley said.
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