Smell of Covid in South Carolina

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Smell of Covid in South Carolina

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Until recently I worked for Campus Security at a small college in the upstate of South Carolina. Before Covid, my job mainly consisted of patrolling the campus on foot and by vehicle. I would let students into their dorm rooms when they were locked out, perform traffic duty, write parking tickets, and occasionally perform searches if we thought a student had a weapon or some other kind of contraband. When the virus began to make itself known on campus, our job descriptions changed. Oddly enough, we were expected to deliver meals, three times a day to students who either had the virus or were in quarantine due to exposure. At first, we only had a small handful of students to feed but by the Fall of 2020, we were delivering meals to nearly one hundred students. Keep in mind, there were at the most, only four officers delivering these meals at any given time and the student to be fed were spread all over campus. The one thing that really stands out in my mind during this time is the smell. I have never been a huge fan of breakfast but the smell of scrambled eggs that never seemed to go away, almost ruined the first meal of the day for me. No matter how quickly you delivered the meals, by the time you finished, the patrol vehicle smelled like scrambled eggs. If it was a warm day, which it usually was in South Carolina, the smell was particularly heavy.
House Keeping had to sanitize the dorms daily. One particular dorm building had a smell of its own due to the fact that a large trash bag burst in the elevator and spilled its contents all over the ground floor lobby. Many of the quarantined students lived in this dorm and I can still remember the rancid smell when walking through the front door. No matter how much they cleaned, house keeping never could quite get the smell out.
While working at the college, I was like most, worried that I would contract the virus. To help prevent this, I sanitized my hands on a regular basis. The smell of alcohol wipes and Lysol will always remind me of this time. I also wore a mask wherever I went and would sometimes spray different scents on the mask to make it smell nice. Smell, above all other senses, will remind me of Covid and my time as a Campus Safety Officer.

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This item was submitted on October 14, 2021 by Ian LeCroy using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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