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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Here’s what the Student Union will look like in the fall

Daniyal Arshad

A view of the food court in the Student Union Memorial Center on Jan. 26, 2017.  

A lot of changes are being made at the University of Arizona campus due to COVID-19. One place to expect a few changes is the Student Union Memorial Center. 

Todd Millay, executive director for the Arizona Student Unions, said in an email that a portion of their student workers will be brought back to assist the student unions Staff in areas needed. These areas include the production kitchen, catering, administration, restaurants and marketing. 

“We’re planning around 60-80% former capacity,” Millay said in an email. 

RELATED: USPS office at UA student union closes

Each supervisor will work with each student worker to decide what their responsibilities will be during fall 2020. Most of the student workers at the unions will have similar tasks and responsibilities with a few added steps. 

All employees at the Arizona Student Unions will be following the Arizona Dining SMART Plan on a daily basis to help reduce risk of COVID-19: Sanitize and clean, maintain social distancing, accommodate dining options, requiring employees to follow COVID-19 guidelines and tech driven in approach. The complete list of Arizona Dining SMART Guidelines can be found here.

Millay said student workers will go through the mandatory Wildcat WellCheck program using their university network identification. Student workers are required to complete the wellness check, which includes questions about symptoms. 

“Additionally, immediately before starting their shift, our student workers will be required to take and pass a temperature read at the worksite and present their ‘green-light’ pass,” Millay said via email. 

He also said student workers are not required to be tested for COVID-19 unless they exhibit symptoms. 

“All students living on campus would be required to get an antibody test before living in the dorms, which would include many of our working student staff,” Millay said in email.

Kailey Marie currently works at the UA BookStores in e-commerce and has experienced working on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s a whole different vibe with social distancing, masks, and limiting the number of customers in the BookStore,” Marie said in a Twitter interview. 

In addition to these new expectations for student workers, the amount of people allowed in the student union will be limited. 

“We will be limiting capacity in all dining locations: SUMC, Global Center, Highland Market, ’85 North, Slot Canyon Café, Catalyst Café, Main Library Starbucks, and Concessions,” Millay said in an email.

Millay said density cameras have been installed to measure entrance and exit traffic. This will help them guide guests on how much capacity is taken and when it is okay to enter. All meeting rooms are limited to 25% or less normal operational capacity. The student unions will have a dining ambassador with signage throughout the SUMC and Global Center directing students through the lunch rush. 

“The density counting cameras will help us control how many people will be in the food court at one time, making that busy environment more acceptable,” Millay said via email.  

RELATED: Coalition For Academic Justice at UA announces plans to unionize

Millay also said sticker decals are placed in each dining location to provide a 6-foot visual cue to guests. Stanchions — another form of a line cue used to enforce social distancing with students — are also utilized at all open restaurants to have better line control. 

“Indoor dining with socially distanced tables and plexiglass shield quadrants will be available at the Grand Ballroom, Pangea, and the Kachina Lounge,” Millay said. 

Credit cards, Meal Plan, CatCash and debit cards are accepted at the student union. However, cash will not be accepted for the foreseeable future. 

All restaurants will be grab-and-go style. There will be no interior dining with the exception of the rooms that permit large distances. Outdoor tents are set up to allow for open air seating with distancing.  

“The Student Union and the rest of the dining locations will look a bit different since we are taking steps to reduce risk for our students’ health,” according to Millay.

Plexiglass barriers are placed at each register station and will be offering to-go food only. There will also be skip-the-line windows at Starbucks, Einstein’s Bros. Bagel, Nrich Urban Market and a few others. 

Smart lockers will be installed at the student union by GrubHub, another measure to encourage social distancing. 

“The Smart Lockers will allow you to order your food via the app, get notified of the locker location, then scan a barcode at your specified locker to grab your food order,” Millay said via email. 

A few other items will be installed, like Ramen Express and Costa Coffee robots at Park Ave. Market and Sally the Salad Maker.

According to Millay, “These allow our students and guests a safer option while dining on campus.”

Follow Jillian Bartsch on Twitter

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