Tips for Reopening Amid COVID-19
As states slowly begin to reopen, businesses must figure out how to keep workers and customers safe while simultaneously adhering to government guidelines and employment laws whilst trying to maximize profits. It is also the responsibility of workers to abide by the guidelines and remain as sanitary as possible.   5 Tips for Essential Workers Essential workers are at risk to COVID-19 every time they report for duty, and they risk bringing the virus home and exposing their family to risk every time they return home. It’s a legitimate concern, and it can add to the stress essential workers feel as they do their part. That’s why it’s important for essential workers to monitor and take care of both their mental and physical well-being. Here are some tips to provide some helpful guidance: Wash Your Hands. Clean your hands before leaving work with soap and water, washing up to your elbows. When you get back home, immediately wash your hands as well. Lather for 20 seconds, about the length of the singing  “Happy Birthday” twice from beginning to end. Some healthcare professionals even advise showering immediately when returning home. Keep Personal Items Away From Work Areas. Personal items, including your cell phone, should be stored in your locker or break room, away from areas where they can come into contact with other people. This reduces the likelihood of these items becoming contaminated. Also, always wash your hands before touching your phone, and disinfect your phone often – at least daily. Ask for Support When You Need it. Your leaders and fellow workers are there to listen and support you. Your well-being is important, so don’t hesitate to seek out help, even if you simply need someone to extend an ear. That being said, if your coworkers look to you for help, make sure you are in the right mental state to provide them with the support they need. Monitor Your Health. Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19 and take your temperature regularly. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please do not go to work. You can look at the CDC’s website for more information about the symptoms of COVID-19. Take Care of Yourself. Make sure to eat, sleep, and drink regularly. Take care of your mental health and make sure to take breaks when needed.   4 Tips for Reopening the Workplace First and foremost, The CDC has posted 60 pages of detailed guidelines on how to reopen the United States from coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders. You can check out the document on CNN’s website. Click here for more information. Also, go to Guidelines for Opening Up America Again for more information. Another helpful article to read is EY America’s "COVID-19 and pandemic planning: How companies should respondDevelop an action plan before opening. Determine priorities for preparing office space and clinical areas based on suggested guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the workspace, and how long this process may take. Also, develop a new system for sterilization of the office, based on all available guidelines. Rely on Experts. Pay attention to federal and state updates on guidelines. For example, the federal government recommended that employers develop and implement policies regarding things like temperature checks, social distancing, protective equipment, sanitation, travel, and disinfection of high-traffic and common areas. Even COVID-19 testing may fall into employers' purview during the reopening. Communicate Effectively. Especially when recalling employees, employers should give as much advance notice to workers as possible. Employers might want to consider requiring that workers provide a written acknowledgment of their intent to return to work for planning purposes. Recall notifications may prompt some workers to disclose their intent to take paid leave guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Also, the letters should inform employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth; avoid collecting signatures for deliveries; stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has lab-confirmed COVID-19. Know that employees may be fearful of returning. Fear is an unavoidable obstacle we have to face. It’s important to be considerate about the fact that some of your employees might fall into vulnerable populations or if they might state that they are in some kind of emotional or mental distress.   Resources  https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/essential-workers-how-to-protect-yourself-and-your-loved-ones/ https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/how-to-practice-covid-19-safety-when-reopening-your-retail-business.aspx https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/20-tips-for-reopening-amid-covid19 https://www.hrdive.com/news/5-compliance-tips-for-reopening-the-workplace/577271/
Financial Impact of the Coronavirus on Colleges and Their Students
On March 6, 2020, the University of Washington became the first college in America to cancel in-person instruction due to the spread of coronavirus. Within 4 days, 134 other colleges had done the same. And a week after that, nearly every college in America had sent their students home. Colleges throughout the United States have faced challenges in making an unprecedented move to online instruction, but for some, the transition may have a more lasting impact. In fact, the financial losses incurred by the changes made in recent months may be insurmountable for smaller institutions. Relevant financial effects of the coronavirus on colleges are discussed below.   Impact on Colleges Intuitively, colleges rely on tuition paid by students to endure financially. Many colleges fear that if they choose to go online in the fall, many tuition-paying students will take a gap year. Along with this, there is a projected drop in international students applying to American colleges, due to restrictions on travel and a potential reluctance to come. International students typically pay full tuition, and therefore losing many of them would prove financially devastating to colleges. According to a recent Brookings Institute study, California colleges alone are at risk of losing $400 million dollars without foreign students. Along with all of these anticipated losses, universities are amassing large hits financially already. The cancellation of spring sports proved devastating: Colleges lost $350 million alone through the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament in March. Schools are also paying millions in room and board refunds, which is highly detrimental for small liberal arts schools like Bates. So what have colleges done in response to all of this? Many have implemented hiring freezes, furloughs, staff salary reductions, and other cost-cutting methods. For a few colleges, namely MacMurray College and the San Francisco Art Institute, coronavirus has spelled the end of their existence. Many colleges have also chosen to suspend capital projects, such as the construction of new dorms and athletic facilities.   Impact on Students Although this has not yet happened on a large scale, many colleges may resort to cutting need-based aid to students, which may force them to take out bigger student loans. Students at small liberal arts schools should expect major upheavals on their respective campuses in the coming years, given their lack of funding--One potential change is this reduction of need-based aid. All things considered, students taking out loans now have more potential benefits in light of the coronavirus. With the opportunity for lower interest rates, now is a better time than ever to refinance student loans. Putting student loan money into a new loan with more manageable terms enables students to pay off their loans more quickly. Federally-held student loans, on the other hand, have been suspended until September 30 with an interest rate of 0%, so no payments can be made on these. A prevailing pattern with the financial impact of coronavirus on colleges includes uncertainty and anticipation. How the virus will spread over the coming months remains unknown, and so too do the magnitude of financial losses colleges will accrue. For current college students taking out loans, they should remain in contact with the financial aid office about potential changes, when possible. For now, refinancing could be a major step in the right direction.   Resources nationalreview.com/news/university-of-washington-becomes-first-u-s-college-to-cancel-classes- due-to-coronavirus/ https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-student-loans-an d-coronavirus-pandemic/ https://abcnews.go.com/Business/coronavirus-pandemic-brings-staggering-losses-colleges-unive rsities/story?id=70359686 https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewdepietro/2020/04/30/impact-coronavirus-covid-19-colleges- universities/#537a5eb261a6 https://www.bates.edu/covid-19/2020/04/27/update-on-financial-impact-of-coronavirus/ 
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