By Jonathan Kopeliovich
The University of Connecticut partnered with the Graduate Storrs Hotel to provide isolation units for COVID-19 positive students.
This move may seem unnecessary given that the university already allocated housing like Mansfield Apartments to be used for isolation purposes, but the upcoming winter season often brings forward an onslaught of influenza. Because COVID-19 symptoms are very similar or mirror those of the common flu, UConn needs to be extra careful about keeping the positivity rate at a low number.
“We provide treatment for all symptomatic students, not only those with a positive test,” university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in an email. “This guards against the potential for false negatives and helps to limit the spread of other illnesses on campus.”
This potentially means that students with flu-like symptoms would have to quarantine to mitigate the spread of influenza or of COVID-19.
Additionally, alerting and moving a student to current isolating units involves a hasty gathering of belongings to be transferred over to the appropriate location. Since Graduate Storrs is a hotel, they can provide amenities and comfort for guests and students that may have been harder to provide at other isolation locations.
Reitz did say that students in traditional isolation locations, like Mansfield Apartments, get food deliveries as an amenity. Faisal Rajan, a seventh-semester political science major described what amenities UConn provided him during his quarantine at Mansfield Apartments.
“They got me food delivered everyday. They gave me like fresh sheets, towel, toilet paper, shampoo,” he said. These are amenities that a hotel can provide with ease.
Isolation locations like Mansfield Apartments are at the edges of campus and can prove to be a hassle to get to. The central location of the hotel makes transportation easy.
Due to this partnership with Graduate Storrs, there are no more rooms available to book for the rest of the fall 2020 semester at this time. Jessica, a Graduate Storrs employee, confirmed this over the phone, saying “The company [Graduate Storrs] partnered with the university to help with student housing.”
Hopefully, these extra units won’t have to be used in the upcoming spring semester. But they do provide backup beds for potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
Audio Attribution: Coast Starlight (Shimoda Shuffle) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2019. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/60685 Ft: shimoda, SiobhanD