In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Cal State system announces most fall classes will be online
The California State University system will conduct a majority of its classes online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, its chancellor announced. With experts forecasting more waves of COVID-19 infections in the summer and fall, the chancellor, Timothy P. White, told California State trustees that it would be irresponsible to bring the system’s nearly 500,000 students back to its 23 campuses in the fall.
“Anything done on a campus this fall won't be as it was in the past.”
Even if fall classes started in person, White said, they would very likely have to be scaled back in the event of a second wave. He said planning for online instruction now “preserves as many options for as many students as possible.”
White said that on-campus housing would be reduced, and that a few campus activities would still take place. Some hands-on learning experiences, such as a capstone engineering project or using specialized equipment, will still be available, with intensive precautions.
- Google nixes expensing food while working at home
Google employees won’t be able to expense food or gym costs while working from home, even if they have extra money from unused event or travel budgets. The company recently issued an updated policy that states employees cannot expense perks while working from home, including food, fitness, home office furniture, decoration or gifts, according to materials viewed by CNBC.
The policy also states that employees cannot use unused budgets to do things like purchase meals for themselves or their teams during virtual meetings or donate to charities of their choice.
Google has long been noted for its offering of free gourmet food to employees at its facilities.
- Meanwhile, Apple is starting to bring staff back to its facilities…
While most Google staff continue to work from home, Apple Inc. says it plans to soon start returning more employees to its major global offices, including the main Apple Park campus in Silicon Valley, over a few months, according to people familiar with the plan. The first phase, which includes staff members who can’t work remotely or are facing challenges working from home, has already begun in some regions globally and will expand to major offices across late May and early June, Apple has told staff. During this first phase, employees will either be asked to work from the office regularly or only for certain periods depending on their role.
A second phase, scheduled to begin in July, will return even more employees to Apple’s offices globally. In the U.S., the company has locations in cities including New York; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; San Diego; and Boulder, Col. The return-to-work timelines are fluid and may change, particularly given local and state stay-at-home orders, said the people, who asked not to be identified talking about internal company matters.
- SNA supports Heroes Act
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has expressed strong support for H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill includes $3 billion in emergency funding to help child nutrition programs cover costs associated with COVID-19 school closures and distributes funds based on a formula that takes into account the typical level of reimbursement a program would receive to operate the program, and the reimbursement being received during the pandemic.
“Schools have encountered numerous challenges transitioning from typical school year cafeteria service to COVID-19 grab-and-go meal pick-up and delivery models,” SNA says in its release expressing its support for the bill. “Massive declines in revenue due to school closures have left many programs struggling to cover fixed costs and staff salaries, as well as COVID-19 expenses such as grab and go carts, packaging supplies, meal transportation costs and PPE, which is often in short supply.”
Read more: SNA Urges Swift Passage of The Heroes Act
- Study finds minor productivity losses from remote work
In what may not be good news for onsite dining operations in commercial locations, a study released this month by the research and advisory services firm Valoir found minimal productivity losses from staff working remotely. Valoir’s broad survey of people working from home combined with 20 in-depth interviews with respondents found that remote work produced an average productivity reduction of only 1%, though those working from home with children reported a slightly larger decrease in productivity of 2%.
The largest decrease in productivity was reported by those working alone (without other adults or children in the home), who saw an average decrease in productivity of 3%, something that may lend support to having a collaborative physical workplace and a communal workplace dining program.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]