Student workers who have been financially affected by being quarantined during the 2020-2021 school year are currently able to apply for financial assistance.
In an email sent on March 26, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Brenda Flores-Lopez explained to the student body that if they were “not able to attend work at Southern as a result of having to go into quarantine or isolation,” they are able to apply to for a unique relief fund, which compensates for the money lost as a result of quarantine or isolation.
“Since March 2020 the federal government has granted three rounds of federal stimulus money,” said Senior Vice-President for Financial Administration Tom Verrill.
According to Verrill, Southern has received an estimated amount of $13 million which has been allocated to different areas. Of the total money received, $4.5 million has been allocated towards extra COVID-19 expenses, which administration has decided to use to assist student workers who have been directly affected by quarantine or isolation.
According to Jason Merryman, vice president for Enrollment Management, the idea to assist these student workers “originated from a student question/suggestion during a student town hall session at the beginning of the semester.”
After administration explored the idea, they decided to implement the fund for student workers because most students “depend on their earnings to help pay for school and personal expenses.”
The application, which has a deadline ending on April 16, requires the student to get a confirmation via email from his or her supervisor confirming that work was missed.
“I feel as though it is a great idea because it’s not like I intentionally went out looking for COVID,” said Arielle Belgrave, an elementary education major who was in both quarantine and isolation. “I was having a [normal] day and taking my precautions, but life happens.”
Belgrave, who held three jobs on campus at the time she went into quarantine, missed nine days of work as a result of being exposed to the coronavirus and ultimately contracted the virus. As a result, she lost an estimate of $200, which she’s hoping to compensate for by applying to the student worker relief fund.
“I am glad Southern understands that we live in a pandemic, and still knows I work paycheck to paycheck, and I still need that money that I didn’t get,” Belgrave said.