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COVID-19 roundup: Purdue gives bonus of $750 to all faculty and nonexecutive staff

Purdue University is awarding all faculty and nonexecutive staff members $750 each as a bonus for their work during the last semester, The Journal and Courier reported.

More than 15,000 employees will receive the checks. Part-timers will receive a prorated check.

Purdue president Mitch Daniels also said that, “barring major setbacks,” the university will add a 3 percent merit raise pool for the fiscal year that starts July 1. He took a similar pool off the table this year amid the coronavirus.

“I cannot fully express our appreciation for the patience, forbearance, extra effort and sometimes true sacrifices that have gone into this accomplishment,” Daniels wrote to employees, praising them for finishing the semester. “I admit I was far from certain that even a collection of can-do problem-solvers like ours could pull off that achievement. Well, we’re here, and only because of the collective effort we could only imagine in August.”

Tufts University announced last week that students who remain on campus after Thanksgiving will face increased testing requirements.

“Those who are currently being tested twice a week will be tested every other day. Those who are currently being tested once per week will now be tested twice a week. Compliance will be monitored and those found not in compliance will be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs Office for disciplinary review,” said a note from the university.

“It is important to note that we have seen no evidence of spread in classrooms, and our contact tracing has indicated that we have not had any clusters on campus. Rather, the number of cases on our Medford/Somerville campus is rising along with increasing numbers of cases across the state, though our positive rate remains significantly lower. The increase in testing frequency that we are announcing today will allow us to catch cases even earlier and further protect our communities.”

The university also announced it was suspending all athletic practices. “Today we are sharing an additional step we have taken to try to reduce the spread of the virus. Effective immediately, all athletics practices will be suspended for the remainder of the calendar year. To be clear, strict protocols have been in place during practices, and there is no evidence to suggest the recent rise in cases is tied to athletics. However, due to the rising number of cases, we must take this step to protect our student-athletes, our community, and our host communities.”

The University of California, San Diego, chancellor Pradeep Khosla has alerted students, faculty and staff that the university’s wastewater monitoring system detected SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — in multiple sites, KPBS reported.

The buildings included residence halls.

Anyone who used a restroom in one of the buildings is encouraged to get a COVID-19 test.

The University of Surrey has become the second British university — after the University of Birmingham — to lower admissions requirements because of the stress students face under COVID-19, the BBC reported.

Lizzie Burrows, director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Surrey, said, “We are taking this action now to relieve the pressure and anxiety facing this year’s applicants, as they experience ongoing disruption and uncertainty surrounding exams and assessment of their learning.”

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