Antioch furloughs 25 workers due to coronavirus

Antioch College has furloughed employees and adjusted its operations in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The school has furloughed more than 25 staff and personnel, including positions at the Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Wellness Center, and in its office of communications and annual giving, according to James Lippincott, the school’s director of communications.

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The college did not provide the exact positions involved and did not release current enrollment numbers.

“The College continues to operate and deliver on its educational mission with modified operations in alignment with the governor’s stay-at-home orders,” Lippincott said.

Since mid-March Antioch has temporarily curtailed on-campus programs and transitioned to distance learning.

“Like colleges across the country, we have taken action to address financial issues due to the pandemic including furloughs for positions whose work has been affected by the move to distance learning and reduction of on-campus operations,” Lippincott said. “The final week of our winter quarter in mid-March was completed via distance learning, and the majority of students then returned to their home communities.”

He said spring quarter began as scheduled on April 6 and is being conducted via distance learning.

“We were out in front on COVID-19 response on behalf of our students,” Lippincott said. “We continue to plan for a variety of contingencies for the fall including potential online formats for everything from orientation to coursework.”

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Antioch officials said the repercussions of COVID-19 are reverberating through all of higher education.

“We are in conversation with other colleges on how best to respond while we remain in service to our students and our educational mission,” Lippincott said. “We at Antioch College are determined to recognize and invest in opportunities that will help us become a stronger voice in the education of young people.”

A COVID-19 task force chaired by Richard Kraince, the dean of cooperative, experiential, and international education and an associate professor of cooperative education, is monitoring the situation as it develops and is creating recommendations for policy.

“The college went forward with nearly all spring quarter courses, which are currently offered through remote learning. A couple lab courses were cancelled,” Kraince said Friday. “Many students who had been planning spring co-ops off campus had to shift to a study term because their co-op jobs evaporated. We were able to go forward with twelve co-op students who are completing their spring co-op term through work in essential industries.”

Kraince says that the federal government’s delay in developing, manufacturing, and distributing adequate tests for COVID-19 has led to a state of uncertainty.

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Statement from Antioch College Board Chair, Maureen Lynch:

In taking unprecedented action in these unprecedented times, the college will operate with essential staff, focusing attention on the needs of its most vulnerable students and honoring the needs of families and communities which have shifting responsibilities and needs in this crisis. The Board remains unwavering in our dedication to the college’s educational mission and recognizes that the college’s leadership team, faculty, staff and students are navigating together such uncharted and difficult territory.

Antioch College President Tom Manley’s note to the college community:

We will continue to plan ahead for multiple contingencies, and adapt based on the latest information provided by the governor and other public health experts, locally and nationally. We hope and expect to make decisions regarding the July – August block and/or the fall quarter probably within the next four weeks.

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