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Penn State to Cover Employee, Student Worker Salaries
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 03/25/2020

Penn State President Eric Barron announced during an employee Town Hall Tuesday that Penn State has made a commitment to pay the full salary of workers through at least April 30, in the face of revenue losses in the University's auxiliary units. Barron said this would provide needed time for the University to better assess and develop a strategy to mitigate the potential financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employees and local communities.

"We want to make sure that employees do not experience an abrupt financial dislocation, and we will wait until mid-April to make any determination with respect to any potential furloughs or layoffs that may be necessary after April 30, in light of this unprecedented situation," said Barron. "Any such decisions will be discussed with the Board of Trustees prior to any future announcement."

Barron said there are millions of dollars of losses in auxiliary and other units that are dependent on self-generated revenue to fund their operations. These operations include Penn State's two hotel and conference centers, the University airport, and housing and food services in the University's extensive residence hall operations, which typically serve approximately 20,000 students but are currently serving only about 1,200 students across campuses who are not able to return to their permanent homes.

"We are concerned not only for employees, but the local communities that surround Penn State campuses that are a vital component of the local economy," Barron said. "The University will use this time to better understand the likely duration of this event and develop a strategy to minimize the impact on employees and the communities we serve to the best extent possible."

Barron said Penn State Health operates with a different Board of Directors and a separate budget and financial structure. As such, Penn State Health will be developing its own fiscal management strategy to respond to this challenge. Barron added, however, that Penn State's commitment does include employees of Penn State in the College of Medicine.

Penn State held one Town Hall meeting Tuesday -- for faculty and staff -- to respond to questions from employees and is holding a second one later in the day for parents and students.

"We want to do everything humanly possible to assist our employees, including students who work in many capacities across our University, while we develop a fiscal strategy to cope with these extraordinary circumstances," he said. "We are all in this together."

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