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Future Unclear For Support Staff on Empty College Campuses

Amid virus fears, hundreds of colleges and universities have now moved face-to-face instruction online. Some, like the University of Washington, have decided to keep campuses open and to let students decide if they want to stay.

Other colleges, however, have said in no uncertain terms that students, barring extraordinary circumstances, need to leave campus.

The landscape is changing at an exceptional pace. But for now, the fate of support staff members at these institutions remains unclear. Many office workers are able to take their jobs online and work remotely. But how food service workers, custodians and groundskeepers will fare without meals to serve, wastebaskets to empty or prospective students to impress has yet to be figured out in many places.

The possibilities could range from retaining full employment to reduced hours to layoffs or unpaid furlough.

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