Nick Clayton, 26

Much of the discussion surrounding essential workers in this pandemic has centered around those employed in hospitals and grocery stores. However, there are many other people still working to keep our world running, including many trade workers.

Nick Clayton, 26, is an apprentice electrician living in Annapolis, Maryland. He’s currently working as a fire alarm technician. His work takes him throughout Maryland as well as to Washington D.C. and Virginia.

Most of the buildings he’s been working in during the pandemic haven’t been occupied.

“At the last place I went to,” said Clayton, “we were attempting to fix a problem in a building. We were there for a good three hours and I think I only saw about 18 people.”

This isn’t always the case, however. He recently worked on a building which served as a childcare facility for the families of essential workers.

“So I was thinking about it while I was working there,” said Clayton, “and I was like, well, I’m glad I have a mask and gloves, and I’m technically working in a closet, because one of these kids might be incubating the virus.”

Clayton’s girlfriend, with whom he shares an apartment, is also an essential worker. She recently started a job at Target, shortly before the beginning of social distancing protocols.

He said he makes an effort to take precautions such as showering immediately after he gets home.

Although the state of Maryland and the company he’s working for have been slow to put specific protocols in place, his foreman has been very careful.

“He really likes staying clean,” said Clayton, “and I can’t blame him.”

Katherine Flinn, a journalism major, is especially passionate about incorporating design and digital media into her work. As a journalist, she intends to focus on issues such as conservation and politics.