According to The Duluth News Tribune before the COVID-19 pandemic, student workers at the University of Minnesota Duluth did not qualify for  paid time off, but new policies have been put into place allowing them PTO for COVID-19-related reasons.

For employers all across the world this pandemic is unlike anything we have ever had to deal with in modern times, and everyone's safety is the upmost priority. But unfortunately for some students on campus they were not aware of this new policy. One student this Summer said he was not sure if he had contracted the Corona Virus or not, but did not call in sick to work because he needed money to pay his rent. He said he was not aware of this special PTO Policy.

In the U of M system, students are entitled to a few sets of paid sick leave hours under both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which went into effect April 1, as well as under the University Emergency Paid Leave policy, which has offered PTO for COVID-19 reasons since March 23, after the state declared a peacetime state of emergency.

Employees who work Full Time can qualify for up to 80 hours of PTO if they are unable to work, and part time workers which usually applies to student workers can take paid sick leave that is equal to the number of hours they work in a 2 week period

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Jake Ricker, public relations director for the University of Minnesota said " additional communications on PTO options will continue into the fall when the highest number of employees, including students, return to work. Information has been available on campus and on systemwide websites regarding pandemic-related topics, including emergency paid leaves but, in anticipation of fall semester needs, human resources is reviewing the experience with these leaves to this point. Any updates or changes will be broadly communicated."

Thankfully something like this in place at UMD and I would assume at most places of employment. The key is to slow this virus down and by letting people know they will still get paid despite having to take sick time, more people will isolate and get better before interacting with the public. UMD is one of three campuses that has postponed face to face instruction and campus move in dates by two weeks. Better to be safe than sorry.

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