Campus workers seeing lay-offs, furloughs as university remains closed for coronavirus

Campus workers seeing lay-offs, furloughs as university remains closed for coronavirus

Individuals employed by Kennesaw State have been laid off and furloughed as the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the university reducing certain services.

KSU has laid off student workers within the KSU Bookstore and resident assistants within campus dorms. Additionally, First Transit, Inc. — the company that hires Big Owl Bus drivers and KSU signed a contract with to access BOB drivers — has furloughed BOB drivers due to campus closures.

KSU Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life Jenny Cotton said that since the Board of Regents announced the closing of all University System of Georgia institutions in March, residence halls would be among the campus services closed. All students in dorms, including RAs, were required to move out.

“RAs are compensated with housing at no cost, therefore, those that were able to return home were relieved of their RA duties for the remainder of the academic year following the mandate to close all residence halls from the Board of Regents,” Cotton said.

Cotton said that not all RAs were fired. Exceptions were made for those who were individually evaluated and were not able to leave on-campus housing. Those RAs have been given the option to keep their jobs.

The KSU Bookstore has also seen layoffs as it is to remain closed for the remainder of the semester.

Director of University Stores Paul Oliphant said that student Bookstore assistants are unable to work since both locations are closed.

Despite this, Oliphant said the KSU Bookstore continues to operate online at ksustore.kennesaw.edu. Oliphant said those with questions can visit the frequently asked questions page with regards to online book orders, textbook materials and more.

Additionally, the Bookstore is currently working on methods students can use to return textbooks after the end of this semester.

“University Stores has partnered with MBS Textbook Exchange to offer an online option for selling unwanted books for cash. Please click here to access the online buyback portal,” Oliphant said. “The bookstore team is working on the logistics for textbook rental returns. Students who have rented textbooks and Dual Enrollment students will receive an email with rental return instructions when they are available.”

Due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, BOB drivers have been temporarily laid off.

“Due to decreased demand during this unprecedented time, Kennesaw State University has made the difficult decision to reduce service,” First Transit spokesperson Jay Brock said. “As a result, First Transit has made the difficult decision to furlough employees.”

Almost 22 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment benefits within the past month, according to NBC News.

Between Saturday, March 14 and Thursday, April 16, about 854,000 people in Georgia have made unemployment claims as the coronavirus has shut down and reduced the hours of businesses across the U.S., according to NBC News.

All USG institutions will remain open but minimal staff will be there to ensure “critical services” continue to operate.

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