Effect of COVID-19 on MCIT businesses

Isabella Anderson, Staff member

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all  people and businesses in the world, and most are trying to return back to normal. For the students and instructors working at an McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology business, things have been a little different getting back into their day to day routine.

Bernie’s Place, Studio 75, and Automotive and Collision Services are all popular businesses held at MCIT. The businesses are all student run with the help of their teachers. However, with the new virtual/hybrid attendance system, the classes are having to run differently than they did last year.

“We can work out on the floor with our mannequins but for actual customers to come in we haven’t gotten the okay yet. We’re  working a lot with the mannequins and we’re doing a little bit of nail art,” Cosmetology and Barbering teacher Claudia Heck said.

Without the opening of the businesses, teachers are having to get creative to find new ways to run the class.  Even with COVID-19, students are learning everything they need to know.

“We learn a lot about different things like meat, seafood, poultries. We fabricate chickens, we do a lot of skills labs, and we do cost controls and marketing so it’s a whole curriculum besides just cooking,” Culinary Arts 2 teacher Gracie Sahm said.

However, COVID-19 isn’t just prohibiting what the students are able to do in class. Teachers are working the changes in the world into what they teach on a day to day basis.

““One main thing we’re focusing on is making sure the kids are aware of the changes we have to make due to COVID-19, as far as sanitation, how we have to deal with clients and each other. I hope we’re raising the level of awareness, how to make sure things are clean, how to make sure everybody is comfortable,” Cosmetology and Barbering teacher Cassandra Evans said.

Despite many challenges they’re having to face, the students and teachers are doing their best to adapt and get ready for when the businesses are allowed to open. Cassie Mallory, Culinary Arts 2 student is still doing her best in class to get ready to work at Bernie’s Place.

“What we have to do is work on our culinary skills and so everyday in class we have a lab. We go into the kitchen every day and we’re making food, learning new things such as that. My  hope is that we do open up due to the fact I want to help out the restaurant” Mallory said, 

Although all businesses have to adapt to the change, some can be harder than others. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is not being able to take on new clientele.

“There’s not a lot of business [since] right now we can’t take any work on. I only have these guys one day a week so right now we’re just finishing up what we have in here and then we’re done,” Collision Repair teacher Clarence McGowen said.

The teachers working at MCIT are ready for things to return to normal and to open their businesses once again. No matter what obstacles the teachers at MCIT are faced with, they persist through and keep a positive outlook.

“I’m hoping that the school year will get back to normal once we’ve gotten past the scary part of COVID-19” Sahm said, ““We’re ready to open as soon as we get all the students back to school.”