Brigham Young University-Idaho warned on Monday about accounts of college students “intentionally” trying to contract COVID-19 in order to make money by donating plasma with antibodies. 

The Idaho university issued a statement saying officials were “deeply troubled” by the alleged behavior and “is actively seeking evidence of such conduct among our student body.”

Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed,” the university stated.

“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter,” the statement continued. “Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community.”

University officials noted that they had previously cautioned last month that if Idaho or Madison County continue to experience surges in cases, the university may have to switch to fully online learning. 

The release also encouraged students who are participating in this behavior to consult financial and mental health resources, saying, “There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet.”

Brigham Young University-Idaho has confirmed 109 COVID-19 cases among students and 22 cases among employees.

The Food and Drug Administration permitted convalescent plasmas from COVID-19 survivors to be used as an emergency therapy for those with coronavirus. The FDA states that the plasma that has antibodies “may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks.”

Two potential plasma donation locations near the university are the Grifols Biomat USA Rexburg location and the BioLife Plasma Services, NPR reported. The first’s website says it gives donors $100 per visit and East Idaho News reported the latter provides $200 for each of the

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Although it is uncertain what lies ahead, the city’s finances are looking a lot better these days after University Heights recently received an additional $461,000 in federal CARES Act money to help it deal with COVID-related expenses.

Gov. Mike DeWine, by signing into law House Bill 614 Oct. 1 allowed for the distribution of an additional $650 million to local governments across Ohio, bringing the total of money distributed to Ohio governments to $1.2 billion. The added $461,000 means that University Heights has now received just over $1.1 million in relief money.

“At first, we didn’t know if we’d get any (CARES Act) money,” said Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. But, now that the city has been granted the money, Brennan, in his report at the start of Monday’s (Oct. 5) City Council meeting, told of how the aid has significantly closed the gap on what was once a projected $2-million deficit the city faced.

With the added funding, Brennan also plans to pay city employees money they had to forego by working four-day weeks over the course of 20 weeks, beginning in June. Brennan announced at the council meeting that the furloughs, that were to carry on until Oct. 31, were ending earlier than planned.

Initially, when faced with a possible $2-million shortfall, the administration and council worked to reduce the city’s spending by about $1 million. The reduction was made, among other things, by putting off this year’s road repair program, instituting the furloughs, and, due to the pandemic, not having to spend money on opening the city’s pools or in programming summer activities.

“While tax revenues remain down from this point last year,” Brennan reported to council, “for everything we have been through, we are down just 1 percent from this time last

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

Lisa Feldman of Orono is a University of Maine System retiree.

When I turned 70, I retired from the University of Maine System. It was a great place to work, but not the high road to riches. I’m typical. As a library worker, I had to be competent in customer service, record-keeping systems, and computer hardware and software fundamentals. I also had to understand the basics of relational database architecture, cataloguing rules and information literacy. It was clerical work, but not unskilled. There have been several raises since I retired. Yet, if I started work tomorrow, I’d make a dollar and change above minimum wage.

Whenever employees complained about skimpy pay, university system administrators objected that “compensation” consisted of benefits as well as salary. They pointed with pride to a strong benefits package, especially our health insurance. We did appreciate our insurance. For many of us, this and the implicit promise of retiree health insurance to follow was what kept us working decade after decade.

No one with less than 10 full-time years of service qualifies for university system retiree insurance. Many of us worked for much longer. That system of retiree health insurance will end with the calendar year. This big change was made without participation by representatives of either current or retired employees. It was announced with little notice — we got a letter at the end of August telling us to sign up for a replacement by the end of October.

This replacement will be not a new group plan but an individual “health reimbursement arrangement.” We’ll be liberated to choose a plan, then pay the premiums and related costs. The