MOORHEAD — Concordia College has announced furloughs of nearly all full-time staff members as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The summer furloughs for each of the 210 employees affected will last three weeks.
The salary reductions affect all areas of the 129-year-old private Lutheran college in Moorhead, including faculty and administrators, according to Jill Abbott, deputy to the president.
She said President William Craft is doing his part in the budget reduction by taking a 20% pay cut.
The furloughs will be strategically planned in each department to help maintain the general operation of the college while allowing as many employees as possible to be on furlough prior to July 25 to take advantage of the extra jobless benefits available that have been available through the federal Cares Act.
"The pandemic has been hard on every industry, including higher education," Abbott said. "The coronavirus has had a significant impact on many budgets."
She said this was a way to address the college's budgeting challenge and to position themselves to be in a better situation.
Abbott said it was "too early to tell" if the pandemic will affect this year's fall enrollment. The school had about 2,000 undergraduate students at the start of the 2019-20 academic year.
As for the upcoming fall 2020 semester, she said they are "encouraged about the positive response of many prospective students."
Since March, the school has transitioned to mostly online classes because of the pandemic, and Abbott said they were able to offer several online courses this summer.
Abbott said administrators are pleased with the college community and how it is "working together" to address the pandemic's challenges.
"This has been difficult for our community," she said, expressing gratitude to the school's "dedicated staff."
The college was founded by Norwegian settlers in 1891 and is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with an emphasis on the liberal arts.