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To Face The Front Line: Carlos Mendez ’20 on Co-op

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When choosing a Co-op, Carlos Mendez ’20 knew that he wanted to stay local to Yellow Springs and Antioch College. Staying local meant that Carlos would be able to maintain close contact with his professor while he finishes his senior project. And so, a few months ago while planning his final Co-op, it made perfect sense to sign up at Premier Health in Dayton. However as time progressed, feelings of uncertainty began to arise.

A pre-med major, Carlos works as an RA (residential advisor) at the College, helping coordinate events and meetings for those living in the residence halls, and checking up on everyone to make sure they’re doing okay and everything is working properly. Now most students are living off campus and Spring courses have moved online, so Carlos is staying with his parents who live close to Cleveland.

Carlos’ parents have expressed they are scared. When discussing Carlos’ Co-op, they told him, “No, you’re staying here!”

Yet, as of now, Carlos’ Co-op is still on. By the end of the week, Carlos will have to decide whether he will go on Co-op with Premier Health. If he chooses not to continue, he has the option to Co-op at his parents’ restaurant. He explains:

“The situation is frustrating, and I don’t feel good about it. It’s starting to get really serious and my feelings switch from worrisome to scared. The numbers are increasing really quickly, and I just want things to go back to normal.”

Across the country, health care professionals are doing what they can to treat patients with the coronavirus, but as medical supplies run short, it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for them to do so. Emergency rooms in cities like New York and Boston are filled to the brim, and stretchers are packed metal-to-metal with little space for physicians to walk to patients.

It’s hard to even begin to fathom how difficult it must be for health care workers facing the front line of the pandemic at this historical moment in time. For them, as well as for our family and our friends, it is imperative that you listen. Please stay at home. Never has it been easier to be a hero and save lives from the comfort of your couch.