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The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will indefinitely furlough 850 employees, including many dining hall workers and residence hall operations staff members.

After rolling back initial plans to bring many students back to campus this fall, the university faces a $168.6 million budget loss.

“Sadly, the persistence of the COVID-19 crisis has forced us to make a number of difficult decisions, including our move to roll back our initial plan to more fully reopen campus this fall,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy wrote in an email to faculty, staff and students. “While these decisions have been made to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, they come at an incredible financial cost to the university.”

Furloughed staff members will retain their benefits, including health care, and will be eligible for unemployment.

The university predicts permanent layoffs will follow and is working to furlough as many of those affected staff members as possible. After taking personnel actions into account, the university will still face a $20.3 million deficit.