Student workers face unemployment due to coronavirus closures

By Ben Gustafson

Despite the ever-changing and uncertain circumstances for students surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, one thing is for certain in the upcoming weeks: students will be without jobs on campus.

Dining Services, Concordia’s largest student employer, is requiring that no student workers come into work for the duration of online learning at the college up until April 13th.

“The biggest thing is the safety of the students,” said Anderson Common’s Residential Dining Supervisor Chris Foyt. “We just want them away from everything as much as possible.”

Although students will not be able to work in Anderson, The Maize, Korn Krib, or The Coffee Stop during the school’s closure, full time workers will still be helping keep some food services open on campus.

A required survey was recently emailed to students regarding their plans for the next few weeks and if they will be going home or not. Dining Services will be using this information to plan out their strategy for this chaotic period of time.

“Once we know how many students actually need to stay and are exempt to stay, then we can know what will be open,” said Foyt.

As of now, Anderson Commons will be staying open for limited hours, and students are given the opportunity to stock up on any supplies they may need at the Korn Krib during specific hours as well. 

Despite this change in hours of Anderson for the upcoming weeks,
students with no other options will still be able to get a meal on campus.

Freshman Joseph Zenda is one of these students. As an international student from Zimbabwe, the coronavirus and all of the difficulties that come with it will affect him more than most other students.

Zenda works roughly 16 hours per week in Anderson Commons, and similarly to many other student workers on campus, this is his only means for making money in the United States.

“I pay for most of my expenses on my own,” said Zenda, who lives in an off-campus apartment and has to keep up with rent every month. “As an international student I feel like it will be even more stressful for me because I can’t work off campus.”

His student visa will not allow him to work anywhere except for the college, which complicates the entire situation as bills will not disappear even if employment does. Thankfully, Zenda has enough funds saved up to get him through this period of unemployment, but other students may
be in an even more difficult situation.

For those that rely on a paycheck from Concordia’s Dining Services and are being thrust into a desperate situation due to the sudden lack of work, the center for Student Development and Campus Life has funds set aside to provide emergency financial assistance to those who might need it.

With the coronavirus complicating so many things for students and staff at Concordia, Dining Services is doing everything it can to ensure that the students who have no choice but to stay on campus will be able to safely get a meal like they normally would.

An extra hand sanitizer station has been placed in front of Anderson, and staff members have been instructed to wipe down their food service stations and dining tables more often. Workers are now also required to change out tongs and other serving utensils at least once every hour. Staff are now serving meals to students in to-go containers, as the seating area in Anderson Commons is closed. 

These precautionary methods, coupled with the distancing of student workers, are designed to keep students safe on campus during this pandemic.

The new hours for Dining Services locations are below:

Monday-Friday

Anderson – 10:30am-6:00pm

Korn Krib – 8:00am-12:00pm

Coffee Stop & Maize closed

Saturday & Sunday

Anderson – 10:30am-1:30pm, 4:00-6:00pm

All other areas closed on weekends.

The Dining Services office will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Any questions or concerns can be directed to diningservices@cord.edu.

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