Employment during a pandemic: Tough times for all

By Landen Fields (lfield12@jccc.edu). Fields is the executive producer for The Campus Ledger. He joined The Ledger in the fall semester of 2019 and has always been interested in media and videography. Two of his favorite hobbies include recording his KU Basketball podcast – Inside the Paint – and watching as many sports as possible.


COVID-19 is affecting business operations around the nation. Many people have been or will be furloughed in the coming weeks. Mike Fields, the manager at the Olathe Community Center, tells us what this situation has been like at the Center.

(Mike Fields) “Of course, no part time staff are working right now and we haven’t been in for five weeks. It will be six starting Monday. The city is looking at furloughs which would guarantee your jobs back when we were able to open. So the city is looking at it very detailed, because its budget shortfall for sure that we’ll be facing.”

Paul Farnsworth, the director of public relations at B&B Theaters, talked about a similar situation.

(Paul Farnsworth) “When we’re normally open and operating, we have 50 locations over 420 screens across seven states. None of them are currently operational at the moment. So it’s been a dramatic shift for us, not only operationally but interpersonally. I guess as we deal with all of our employees across those states, we’ve had to furlough over 20 – well about twenty-one hundred people. So our corporate office. There are a few individuals still on hand to handle some payroll stuff. Couple of human resources employees. But by and large, we’re just sort of waiting it out.”

The biggest question is, when will the furloughs end?

(Farnsworth) “Honestly the short answer, I guess, is that we don’t know. There are a few individuals who have still maintained a few hours of active work and a lot of our corporate office is doing that to maintain a social media presence and stuff that handle these kinds of conversations. So a few of us are still working limited hours. But as soon as the red light goes away and we get the green light, we’ll reopen and start bringing people back.”

Mike Fields offered some encouragement to those who have been furloughed.

(Fields) “There’s not a lot of solace in saying we were in it together, but we really are. I tell my staff so far this is a historic event and we’re all going through it. We will have a shared experience when we get to the other side. My best advice is to be patient. Talk to your friends and your co-workers or supervisors and we will, through communication, get through it.”

Becky Centlivre, the vice president of human resources at the college said JCCC was not looking at furloughing any of its employees at the moment. She also said that the college has continued hiring new employees despite the coronavirus situation. Ms. Centlivre provided two links which you can find in the description. The first is for the JCCC Careers page. Check that out if you are interested in working for the college. The second is for the Kansas government web page for unemployment benefits. If you have been furloughed or have otherwise lost your job, be sure to visit that page. For The Campus Ledger, I’m Landen Fields.





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