Purdue to give staff $750 bonuses for `heroic’ pandemic work

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University plans to reward its faculty and staff with a $750 bonus for their “heroic work” keeping the West Lafayette campus open during the coronavirus pandemic, school officials announced Wednesday.

The university said more than 15,000 faculty, staff and graduate student staff hired before Sept. 1, 2020, will get the money in their checks in December. Part-time staff will get a pro-rated amount.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said staff in executive level positions will not get the $750 bonus, the Journal & Courier reported.

Daniels congratulated faculty and staff in a campus-wide letter sent Wednesday morning for getting through the in-person portion of the fall semester. He called the bonus an “appreciation award” for their work that kept the campus open during the pandemic.

“I admit I was far from certain that even a collection of can-do problem-solvers like ours could pull off that achievement,” Daniels wrote in the letter. “Well, we’re here, and only because of the collective effort we could only imagine in August.”

The bonuses follow a tumultuous year on college campuses nationwide that in March, just after spring break, saw Purdue empty dorms and move classes online as the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Indiana.

Purdue’s fall semester reopening plan included mask mandates on campus, remote work for two-thirds of the staff, Plexiglas in dining areas, a refigured academic calendar, and COVID-19 testing programs before and during the semester.

Purdue’s in-person classroom portion of the fall 2020 semester ended Tuesday, turning the traditional campus exodus for Thanksgiving into a time to move out for the semester. After a five-day break, the semester picks up remotely, including a finals week conducted off campus Dec. 7-12.

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