University of Missouri System weighs major cuts due to virus

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O’FALLON, Mo.  — Leaders of the University of Missouri System are considering layoffs, unpaid leave and other ways to contain costs due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Tuesday.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi said in a statement that major sources of funding “will remain under stress for some time to come.” He said that effective May 1, he and system vice presidents, chancellors, deans at the four universities and other leaders are taking 10% salary cuts that will last until at least July 31.

Meanwhile, budget planners at each university are developing plans for cuts of up to 15%. Some budget-cutting decisions will be made by April 30, the university system said.

HELP FOR THE JOBLESS

The state of Missouri has begun issuing $600 payments to more than 115,000 unemployed workers using funds approved as part of the federal stimulus package aimed at bolstering the economy left reeling by the coronavirus.

The Missouri Division of Employment Security said Tuesday that claimants should see payments within the next few days. The state said payments that began Monday will amount to $66 million in benefits.

The congressional rescue bill added $600 a week, for a period of four months, to standard unemployment benefits.

MISSOURI DEATHS AT 137

The number of deaths in Missouri from the coronavirus has reached 137, and the state now has 4,531 confirmed cases, according to data Tuesday from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which has been tracking COVID-19 cases worldwide.

The death total was 19 more than the Johns Hopkins website reported Monday, and confirmed cases rose by 259. Among the latest deaths were five people in St. Louis, bringing the number of deaths in the city to 24.

INMATES TEST POSITIVE

Three inmates at a Kansas City-area jail have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté said the jail has taken several steps to prevent spread of the virus. They include enhanced disinfecting practices, social distancing strategies, and isolating confirmed and suspected cases.

The jail also is among several in the state’s two urban areas that have released inmates in response to the pandemic. At least 80 inmates at the Jackson County jail have been released.

PLASMA SOUGHT FROM VIRUS SURVIVORS

People who have recovered from COVID-19 are being encouraged to donate plasma, which may be useful in helping other patients recover from the illness.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said “convalescent plasma” has been used to prevent or treat new viral diseases in the past because people who have fully recovered have antibodies that potentially work against the virus.

Eligible donors include those at least age 18 who had a previous positive test for COVID-19, have been free of symptoms for at least 14 days, and who are not pregnant. There is no payment for plasma donations.

Those interested should contact health care facilities in their areas.

GRANTS TO AID CHILD CARE PROVIDERS

Missouri will receive $66.5 million in grant money to help child care workers and providers during the pandemic, Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt announced Tuesday. Blunt said the Child Care and Development Block Grant funding is part of $3.5 billion in assistance to U.S. child care providers to keep them in business.

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