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Amazon corporate office building in Sunnyvale California.jpg Lisa Werner / Contributor/ Moment Mobile / Getty Images
The new policy, which applies to the nearly 60,000 Amazon office workers in the Puget Sound region around Seattle, will be implemented at the discretion of individual team managers.

5 things: Amazon to allow indefinite remote work

This and news of some campus dining hall openings and closings 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. UNC reopens a dining hall while UR closes one

In response to student complaints over its closure on Oct. 3 due to a staff shortage, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) says it will reopen its Tobey-Kendel Dining Hall five days a week beginning Oct. 18 offering grab-and-go meals for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday. Meanwhile, the University of Rochester (UR) has closed or scaled back several of its dining options—including closing one of its main dining halls, Danforth Dining Center, indefinitely—and given students a partial refund on their meal plans while temporarily allowing students to use their meal balances on off-campus meals delivered to campus through food ordering app GrubHub.

Read more: UR closes dining hall due to worker shortage. Here's what's being done and University of Northern Colorado’s Tobey-Kendel Dining Hall to reopen on limited basis

  1. Amazon to allow indefinite remote work

In a shift from its previous expectation that most employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week once offices reopen in January, Amazon now says it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely as long as they are able to commute to the office when necessary, according to a recent blog post signed by CEO Andy Jassy. The new policy, which applies to the nearly 60,000 Amazon office workers in the Puget Sound region around Seattle, will be implemented at the discretion of individual team managers and follows similar moves from other major West Coast tech firms like Microsoft, which recently announced that it had postponed reopening its offices indefinitely, and Google, which has said it anticipates roughly 20% of its workforce will continue to telecommute full-time.

Read more: Amazon will allow many employees to work remotely, indefinitely

  1. WSU intros mini meal plan, nighttime delivery service

Dining Services at Washington State University Pullman has unveiled a new mini meal plan for faculty, staff and students living off-campus that allows them to purchase dining dollars and pay for meals using their CougarCard. Also introduced is a nighttime delivery service that lets students order food using the GetFood app between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and get it delivered between 8 and 10 p.m. to on-campus living locations.

Read more: Dining Services introduces mini meal plan and nighttime eating options

  1. Major Texas school districts struggle with staffing

In the San Antonio metro area, Northeast ISD Executive Director of School Nutrition Sharon Glosson says that with 141 openings among roughly 600 cafeteria positions, the district has had to limit the variety in its menus, close a number of cafeteria serving lines and use more paper goods at times "because we don’t have the staff to wash all of the trays.” Neighboring Northside ISD has 100 openings out of about 950 cafeteria staff positions, including its reserve pool, says Director of Child Nutrition Thomas Wherry, who notes that the situation has meant that other school staff—including teachers, principals and even Wherry himself—have occasionally had to step in when too many of the usual cafeteria staff are out.

Meanwhile, in Austin ISD, the food service employee shortage is becoming critical with about 100 openings as the COVID-19 pandemic caused some employees to leave because of safety concerns while others have moved on to better-paying jobs.

Read more: School districts need another helping of cafeteria staff and Austin ISD doesn’t have enough cafeteria employees. How will they get more?

  1. UNC Wilmington debuts new campus dining hall

Campus Dining at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has opened its new 20,000 sq.-ft. Shore Dining Hall near the school's new campus housing village that offers six food stations and an adjacent retail space. The dining options include Hearth (pizza and pasta), Everything Bowl (customized stir fry), Carolina Home (sandwiches, subs, salads and wraps), Baja (West Coast burritos and tacos), Daybreak (all-day breakfast items) and a Grab and Go mobile ordering option.

Read more: Campus Dining Opens UNCW’s Newest Facility

Bonus: Foodservice operators expect labor and product shortages to continue

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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