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Majority of dining staff put on temporary leave without pay during campus closure

Photo by Kira Bernhard 
Sodexo has attempted to relocate workers, but many staff members on campus are left without work hours.

Three-fourths of the Rollins’ dining staff has been placed on temporary leave without pay due to safety restrictions against the spread of COVID-19.

Cristina Cabanilla, director of Dining Services, said, “Even though some of our associates are temporarily not working, they are not terminated. We put them on a Temporary Unit Closing status so they don’t lose their benefits such as health, life, or disability insurance, or their seniority with the company.”

Due to the dining staff’s limited working status, they are now eligible for both unemployment and food stamps to help balance their lack of income.

Beginning on Mar. 26, Orlando was placed on a two-week stay-at-home mandate. In addition, beginning Mar. 22, an executive order issued by Governor Ron Desantis restricted dining establishments from allowing patrons to dine-in. Instead, only delivery and takeout are allowed. 

Non-essential businesses were also told to cut their workforce in half and to instruct employees to take off shifts or telecommute.

After these requirements, though Sodexo attempted to relocate workers to alternative employee positions, many staff members are left in limbo without the option to work. 

Photo by Kira Bernhard
Sodexo has attempted to relocate workers, but many staff members on campus are left without work hours.

As of now, 32 Sodexo staff members are still working on campus to assemble meals or work on special projects. 

The 27 students staying in the Sutton Place Apartments through the school’s shutdown are being offered to-go options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Two options are provided for lunch and dinner, and students can choose between an animal-based protein and plant-based protein. In addition, meals include a vegetable, starch, pre-packaged dessert, and beverage. Students are then given set times to pick up these meals.

Students with dietary restrictions can request accommodations. Menus have been made with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and students are able to order snacks through a 24/7 C-Store online ordering system.

“Avoiding social interaction is one of the best methods to stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition to this and to reduce the need for students to leave their residential hall, every online order that we receive is delivered to their front door,” said Cabanilla.

Ed Kania, vice president for Business and Finance and Treasurer, and Bria Pallas, attorney general of the Student Government Association who oversees the Sodexo committee, declined to comment and referred The Sandspur to Cabanilla.

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