The closure of Auburn University's campus for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester resulted in thousands of students returning home. However, there are still many students living and working in Auburn, despite the number of cases rising each day.
Max Cleveland, freshman in pre-business and an employee at the 160 Ross apartment complexes, has decided to continue living and working in Auburn for the remainder of the semester.
Cleveland works part time as a community assistant at 160 Ross, assisting residents with leasing, packages and other concerns. He said he has noticed a decrease in the amount of people living at 160 Ross since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“The amount of work orders has gone down drastically," Cleveland said. "A lot of people have gone home, so the main thing people come by for now is to get packages.”
Since the arrival of the virus, there has been a shift in the mood of residents who have chosen to stay at 160 Ross during the campus closure, Cleveland said. Some of the residents have been acting a lot more cautious of contact with each other and of contact with staff members.
Throughout the entire process, Cleveland said the management of 160 Ross has done a great job of protecting the safety of the staff and preparing them for how to deal with this situation.
“Beginning this week, we started sanitizing everything and keeping everything sterile," he said. "But starting Friday, we closed the office to the public, while still operating normally internally and leaving packages out for residents."
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A decision by the management at 160 Ross was made to limit the number of employees at the front office to one at a time in order to help slow exposure, Cleveland said.They also closed all common area amenities in an effort to limit person-to-person exposure and implemented the option for employees to continue working or return home if they wished to leave Auburn.
“They gave us the choice to go home, but I chose to stay and work," Cleveland said. "I am very work oriented, and not everyone could stay and continue working, so I chose to stay and help out where I could."
Cleveland said that it does feel strange to be working during this time, but no one could have predicted the outbreak and the impact that the coronavirus would have on the community.
Despite much of his job requiring him to interact with residents and community members, Cleveland said he is not too worried about the risk to his own health.
“I am cautious, but I’m more concerned about the socio-economic effect that the coronavirus will have," he said. "I just want to urge people to stay home and stay safe during this time."
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