“I’ve retired three times at this point, but I keep coming back to the workforce because I just like having something to do when I wake up in the morning,” said Jon Kannarney. “I’ve been working since I was 12. It’s just what I do.”
A COVID-19 testing staffer, Kannarney is a familiar face to students at LittleJohn Coliseum when they take their COVID-19 test.
“My favorite part about this job is getting to interact with the students,” said Kannarney. “The students who come in are always so nice and put a smile on my face. They are what makes this job so fun for me.”
While he doesn’t remember every face, Kannarney says he does recognize his regulars who often get scanned by him while he is working.
“I try to make a connection, even if it’s just a simple ‘hi’ every week,” said Kannarney. “You never know what is going on in their lives so I try to be a bright spot in their day.”
Kannarney has worked for the University for three years. He has been with the COVID-19 testing platform Rymedi since August 18 when students returned to campus and the need for testers increased. Before working for Rymedi, he served as an event staffing security member for the University. As an EPI security guard, Kannarney was in charge of making sure the Colosseum, Fike and Memorial stadium, where testing occurred, were secure.
Testers, like Kannarney, often work 10-hour days, from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday testing anywhere from the record high of 8,800 students in a day to the record low of 65.
“Thankfully it isn’t very strenuous work, and I really love the people I work with. I talk to Nick and Judy, who I started with, and the other students who volunteer when it’s slow,” said Kannarney. “But I almost prefer it to be busy. It makes the day go by faster.”
When asked what advice Kannarney had for the students he sees everyday, he said, “Be yourself. Always be yourself because the world deserves to see you. And bring a mask. Don’t forget your mask.”