Empty dorm rooms to be used as hospital beds, quarantine rooms for med staff

American universities are offering up their vacated dorm rooms to fight the coronavirus.

With facilities empty after students have moved off campus, university facilities are being prepped to house medical staff and hospital patients.

While some colleges have still not cleared out completely, many students nationwide have been told to leave their dorms and vacate campus grounds. Some campuses are leading the way in putting now-empty dorm rooms to good use. 

George Washington University announced that its students would depart campus, but that students would be unable to pack their own belongings. Instead, the school packed up students’ belongings for them and repurposed dorms as housing for GW Medical Faculty Associates and GW Hospital staff who feel safer staying away from their families while being possibly exposed to the virus.

[RELATED: Penn tells students who live OFF-CAMPUS to return to parents’ homes]

The University of Michigan-Flint has also jumped on the bandwagon to use its dorms as places to hold patients fighting COVID-19. Since it was announced that no student will be able to return to the dorms, one residence hall is being renamed the “Healing Heroes Home” as a way to signify its new purposes of housing medical professionals working at Genesee County hospitals. 

“When we heard of the need for a place for these medical professionals to get a break that would keep them and their families safe, we knew our residence hall would be an optimal space for them. We are proud to step up and help these heroes at this critical time,” Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint Deba Dutta said.

[RELATED: ‘Eerie,’’stoic,’ ‘confusing’: Students cope with new campus reality amid coronavirus outbreak]

Tufts university has announced that it will also be sharing hundreds of dorm rooms, but rather for hospital overflow. 

President of Tufts University Dr. Anthony P. Monaco penned an op-ed in the Boston Globe encouraging other schools to do the same. 

“Tufts University is prepared to take these steps and has informed local health care leaders and the mayors of Somerville and Medford that they can count on us to help address their needs. I hope my fellow higher education leaders will also take these steps,” wrote Monaco.

Monaco also urged other universities to “identify all residential units on campus that can be used for self-quarantine, both individual rooms with private bathrooms and suites with multiple bedrooms connected to one bathroom,” as well as to convert university parking lots to “drive-through triage centers for testing and evaluation of patients reporting symptoms.”

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Other schools offering empty dorm rooms to aid in coronavirus health efforts include Middlebury College, Aquinas College, and New York University.

[RELATED: Penn tells students who live OFF-CAMPUS to return to parents’ homes]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed that State University of New York (SUNY) schools be transformed into working hospitals, calling it in March, “at this point, our best hope.” 

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