Headlines May 8, 2020

Headlines May 8, 2020

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School Districts in the metro area may be winding down their online teaching courses with the end of the academic year approaching, however they will still provide food assistance to families in need throughout the summer. Speaking at a town hall earlier this week, Julie Van Domelen, Executive Director of the Emergency Family Assistance Association, said school districts have helped reduce the pressure on local food banks.

Van Domelen says the Boulder Valley School District has stepped in and played and incredibly important role in food distribution. “We all see on the TV these lines and lines of cars trying to get food, we have not experienced that and I think part of the reason is that the school districts have stepped in with really significant distributions in multiple sites,” she said.

BVSD continues to distribute several meals’ worth of food items and fresh produce to families every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Identification or paperwork is not be required to receive food.

Details on the location of food distribution is at bvsd.org.

Denver Public Schools said Thursday that the next academic year will begin as scheduled in August but will likely consist of a mix of in-person and remote learning.

The school district Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a letter to students and teachers that this is part of an effort to maintain social distancing and prioritize health and safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Cordova said that the plans haven’t been finalized yet but they will follow the guidance of health experts as they develop them.

Public health officials in Boulder are criticizing some CU students for throwing graduation parties at several locations on the Hill yesterday.

Thursday was they day CU Boulder’s commencement ceremony was scheduled for, but the pandemic forced the university to cancel and set up a virtual streaming ceremony on May 16 instead.

The Daily Camera reports that dozens of people gathered to party in the front yards of homes near Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue close to campus on Thursday, despite the county’s stay at home order which expires at midnight tonight.

 

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Kroger-owned grocery stores across the West including in Colorado, have notified workers that starting May 17th, the company will eliminate the $2.00 an hour bonus called “Hero Pay.”

Grocery store employees have been deemed essential workers by the government. Kroger had given them a $2 an hour pay raise during the pandemic in recognition of the important role they played and also in recognition of the danger they faced working on the front line during the pandemic.

Thursday’s announcement that the hero pay bonus was being eliminated was heavily criticized by the union representing many grocery store workers. UFCW Local 7 in Colorado, which represents more than 14,000 Kroger workers in Colorado and Wyoming, confirmed 39 workers tested positive for COVID-19  and one had died.

Kim Cordova, President of UFCW Local 7, said Thursday that Kroger, as the biggest retail grocer in the US, has experienced record profits during the pandemic and taking away the hero pay from these essential workers disregards their continued heroism as they serve their communities in crisis.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union also represents workers at the JBS meat packing plant in Greeley. On Wednesday the state health department confirmed that a 7th worker there had died of COVID-19. The union has been critical of the company for not doing enough to ensure workers are safe. Earlier this week Governor Jared Polis said the state was providing free testing for workers at the meat packing factory as JBS management had failed to do that, even though they had promised to test workers after public-health officials ordered the plant to close. Instead, management opted to deep clean the facility over a fourteen-day period rather than test everyone.

The company had also sent a cease-and-desist letter to UFCW Local 7 president Kim Cordova accusing the union of violating its collective-bargaining agreement via “a strategy of generating negative media attention and public opinion” over the company’s management of the virus at the plant.

The plant has been identified by state officials as a coronavirus hot spot with 280 confirmed cases. Two JBS employees say they were fired after they stayed home sick with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Tammy and Ann Day, who are married, told the Denver Post that they received notes from a medical clinic ordering them to self-isolate until April 3, but after phoning the company’s automated absence line to report it, they were fired.

JBS said in a statement to the Post that the women were fired because they failed to show up for work three days in a row and also did not contact the company about their absences, something the women dispute.

Denver Public Schools announced Thursday that the next academic year will begin as scheduled in August but will likely consist of a mix of in-person and remote learning.

The school district Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a letter to students and teachers that this is part of an effort to maintain social distancing and prioritize health and safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Cordova said that the plans haven’t been finalized yet but they will follow the guidance of health experts as they develop them.

CU president Mark Kennedy will forgo his $200,000 bonus following outcry from faculty, staff and graduate students at the university.

More than 150 CU Boulder staff and faculty sent a letter to university leadership questioning why the president was receiving a bonus during a time of financial turmoil.

Kennedy will now donate $150,000 of that bonus to the endowed scholarship fund for first-generation students from rural communities. He will waive the remaining $50,000.

CU campuses like other universities around the country are experiencing economic hardship due to impacts from the global pandemic. CU Boulder began layoffs in April.

Kennedy was to receive the $200,000 in bonuses on top of his $650,000 first-year salary.

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