Workers at University of Arizona face furloughs, pay cuts amid COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Arizona is implementing furloughs and pay cuts for most of its employees as a result of economic strains brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

The university posted details about the furloughs on its website, saying the changes will begin May 11 and will remain in effect until June 30, 2021.

According to UArizona's website, those who make less than $44,450 a year can expect 13 furough days. Those who make more will have to take time off without pay between 26 and 39 days.

Employees who make more than $150,000 will see pay cuts ranging from 17% to 20%.

The university projects it could lose $250 million as a result of the pandemic. University President Robert C. Robbins told the Arizona Daily Star on Friday the cuts will be reviewed each month to determine if the university is reaching its target savings.

Robbins said the furloughs are expected to save between $90 and $95 million. More savings will come from a hiring freeze, the halting of building projects, delayed plans for merit increases, and a 20% reduction in executive leadership pay that went into effect in March.

The university is one of southern Arizona’s largest employers.

Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University haven’t announce furloughs or pay cuts.

Arizona has more than 4,200 cases of the virus and has seen 150 deaths. Cases are expected to peak in the state within two weeks.

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Additional resources

LIVE: Interactive Coronavirus case data and map


Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars (In Spanish/En Español)

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