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Two major Washington DC area universities are seeing petitions from students seeking adjustments in their tuition and housing/meal fees due to the schools going to remote learning at the start of the spring semester due to the Omicron virus surge.

5 things: Students looking for meal plan relief as colleges extend remote learning

This and Aramark’s planned upgrades to its national park operations are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Georgetown, American U. students petition for tuition, meal fee adjustments

Two major Washington DC area universities are seeing petitions from students seeking adjustments in their tuition and housing/meal fees due to the schools going to remote learning at the start of the spring semester due to the Omicron virus surge. At Georgetown University, which had announced that classes will be held virtually through Jan. 30, a petition calls on the university to provide a tuition reduction for the period in which classes remain virtual and refund housing and meal plan costs for students returning to campus later in January.

Meanwhile, at American University (AU), where President Sylvia Burwell had announced that AU will not provide discounted tuition or housing despite transitioning to online learning for the month of January, students are asking that administrators reduce tuition costs to reflect the time students will spend learning remotely, as well as housing and dining expenses for students who pay for these services and will not be utilizing them to their full extent throughout January. The petition’s creator also suggested alternatives to financial compensation, such as opening more of the campus dining venues instead of reducing the cost of meal plans.

Read more: Students petition to lower cost of spring 2022 semester amid month of virtual classes and Students Demand Tuition Reductions, Housing and Meal Plan Reimbursements

  1. UCR campus also looks for meal fee relief following remote extension

Meanwhile on the West Coast, University of California at Riverside (UCR) says it will be extending remote learning by three more weeks, to Jan. 31, amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, prompting a student petition that has accumulated around 3,018 signatures for financial relief for housing rent and dining hall fees. UCR Housing responded by saying it will be allowing students with a meal plan to switch to a lower tier or have their unused swipes carry over to next quarter.

Read more: UCR will hold classes online throughout the end of January

  1. Aramark plans dining upgrades at national park locations

Aramark has announced some upgrades and new services at the national parks where it operates to welcome visitors back this year. Among them is a new full menu designed by the female culinary team of Executive Chef Julie Picco and Executive Pastry Chef Riley Ostrom at Yosemite National Park's iconic Ahwahnee Hotel while the Curry Village base camp destination for Yosemite getaway will reopen on March 18 with comprehensive renovations to all of its dining facilities and Colorado’s Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde National Park will open April 14 showcasing a newly renovated Metate Room featuring upscale regional Colorado cuisine.

Read more: Aramark Invites Visitors Back to the National Parks & Public Lands

  1. Dartmouth converts student event space to isolation meal pickup center

Dartmouth Dining Services has converted its Sarner Underground all-purpose student space and event hall into an isolation meal pick-up center for students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Students getting their meals at Sarner swipe themselves in with their Dartmouth ID cards while dining staffers wearing N95 masks and standing behind a plastic glass barrier serve them one at a time. It currently serves approximately 130 to 140 students a day but has the capacity to serve up to 400 students.

Read more: DDS converts Sarner Underground into isolation meal pick-up center

  1. Billboard calls on hospital to dump McDonald’s unit

A billboard reading "I'm Not Lovin' the Ventilator" is calling on Tampa General Hospital to get rid of a McDonald's restaurant located on its first floor. The message parodies McDonald's slogan of "I'm Lovin' It" and also warns that eating high-fat fast food can cause obesity, which can put COVID-19 patients at greater risk for intubation.

Read more: Doctors Use Billboard to Call Out Hospital Using McDonald's to Feed Patients

Bonus: The 2022 K-12 Power Players deal with an ongoing pandemic

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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