GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Bob Jones University announced it will begin furloughing staff members on April 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university said about 50 employees whose primary responsibilities have temporarily ended or changed due to the pandemic will be furloughed. It said additional furloughs could be implemented over the next few weeks.

“I’m thankful President Trump and the United States Congress are providing a safety net for employees across the nation whose jobs have been severely impacted due to COVID-19,” BJU President Steve Pettit said. “The extension of state unemployment benefits, coupled with a federal supplement, helps businesses and organizations like BJU continue to provide benefits for their employees while protecting their overall safety and economic security.”

The furloughed employees will be able to keep their current benefits, such as healthcare.

The university said it hopes the employees can return before the next academic school year in August.

“I am praying for each one of these furloughed staff members and trust we will be able to have them join us for the beginning of our 94th academic year. That is my hope and prayer,” Pettit said.