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Weekly Briefing: Funds available to students, library produces face masks, and student minimum wage to be raised

The Weekly Briefing gives a small look into the stories The Forum has covered in the past week. This week, we covered the developments of COVID-19 in the state and on campus, how Giovale Library is pitching in to produce face masks and administration’s announcement to raise the student’s minimum wage.

Funds available to students amid uncertainty

Westminster College community has come together to provide funds for students displaced after Spring semester changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Westminster website, housing and dining credits will be issued to students who left campus after the extended Spring break because of COVID-19. ASW also announced a ‘COVID-19 relief fund’ offering students up to $400 on a case-by-case basis.

Giovale Library utilizes 3-D printer to curb face mask shortage

The Giovale Library has joined efforts with the University of Utah Health Care to produce 3-D printed face shields for health care workers. The University of Utah kickstarted the project after a shortage of face masks to protect health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valerie Burnett, a systems librarian at Giovale, is spearheading the project at Westminster College, creating shields from a design supplied by the university hospital. She started the project Thursday, saying she’s working as fast as she can to provide the masks needed.

Administration announces minimum wage increase

Students can expect to see an increase of the campus minimum wage starting in the Fall semester, according to an email sent out by President Beth Dobkin March 22. The lowest student wage will be set at $8.50 an hour, a jump from the current $7.25 which reflects the statewide minimum wage.

However, not all positions will see an increase in wages, President Dobkin said in an interview with The Forum. There will be different tiers so jobs are classified by job responsibility and degree of supervision — with some current jobs already organized in this way.

ASW swears in new student board via video chat

ASW swore in its newly-elected student board for the 2020-21 school year Wednesday, hosting the ceremony virtually via Zoom after the campus has been closed for the remainder of the semester.

“Welcome to our very first, to my knowledge, virtual swearing-in ceremony,” said Kate Pasco, current ASW Chief Justice of the 2019-20 school year. “I’m really glad we found an alternative way to do this.”

New research links poor air quality to COVID-19 severity

Changes in air quality are important in the time of COVID-19 because a study from Harvardd has shown air quality has a significant impact on the severity of the disease. The study found that even just a small increase in long-term exposure to pollution increases the death rate of COVID-19. 

So even though social distancing is lowering air pollution in some places, exposure to pollution in general is dangerous to people who have contracted the virus. 

Updates on COVID-19 in the state

The first confirmed case in Utah was reported March 6 in Davis County, after it’s believed the patient was exposed while on a cruise aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. The first community-spread case — meaning the patient had not traveled outside the country or been in contact with anyone who had — was confirmed March 14 in Summit County.

Since then, the number of cases in the state has been growing — along with the hospitalization cases.

Here’s a timeline of the outbreak in Utah so far.

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The Forum is Westminster College's only student-run news organization since 1946. The content published does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Westminster or its administration.

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