University of Iowa Resident Assistants File Hazard Pay Petition
Some University of Iowa students have returned to their dorms, and their resident assistants (RAs) are now petitioning for "hazard pay" for the work they do requiring contact with the students amidst the pandemic.
UI officials told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, that while 700 students have withdrawn from living on campus due to the pandemic or other reasons, many remain, and the "small group" of RAs believe that being in contact with these residents potentially puts them in harm's way.
The job of an RA includes things like helping students move in our out of isolation rooms, delivering meals to students, some of whom could knowingly or unknowingly be infected, including entering the "isolation hallway" and having to physically wait to see that the student receives the delivery.
They perform cleaning work which they believe may potentially expose them to biohazardous or COVID-exposed material, surfaces, and areas.
They are also charged with enforcing a one guest per person, per room policy and are required to personally
ask additional students to leave the room, including when those students are intoxicated and refusing/unable to wear masks or social distance from the resident assistant and others.
The official language in the petition says "from the unsafe conditions we are working in, to the additional duties directly related to COVID-19 we have taken on during this academic year, we require and deserve additional income in the form of hazard pay in addition to our regular stipend". 21 RAs have resigned since July and 123 signatures had been collected to address the above petition as of Tuesday.
The end-game on the petition is unclear but UI University Housing and Dining Director Von Stange said they are communicating closely with the RAs on their requests and have provided them with multiple PPE kits that each include four reusable cloth masks, six disposable masks, and two face shields.