Coronavirus: UD using Marriott hotel to quarantine, isolate students

The Dayton Marriott at the University of Dayton has been used to isolate and quarantine students during the coronavirus outbreak on campus. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

The University of Dayton, which has grappled with high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases on campus since the beginning of the semester, uses a contained area at the Dayton Marriott to quarantine and isolate students, officials said.

As of Tuesday morning, four students who had not been diagnosed with the coronavirus were in quarantine at the hotel, officials said.

The university reported three new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, down from six the day before.

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UD designated portions of two residence halls on campus for quarantining and isolation. However, they booked students into the hotel when the number of COVID-19 cases peak.

“There has been considerable ebb and flow, especially during the peak,” the university said in a statement. “All rooms are deep-cleaned between residents and we do not move students back and forth once they are housed. The Marriott spaces allowed us flexibility during the peak.”

Colleges and universities across the country have leased hotel rooms and apartments to house students in an effort to reduce on-campus density and slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to Inside Higher Ed, a Washington D.C.-based publication aimed at the higher education community. Others such as the Ohio State University book students in local hotels as isolation and quarantine rooms fill up on campus.

At the Dayton Marriott at the University of Dayton, quarantine and isolation rooms are limited to one section of the hotel, which is separate from other guest rooms, and each room has its own HVAC system, school officials said. Students are not permitted to leave their hotel rooms, and UD staff are on site to monitor the students full time.

Given the decline in travel because of the pandemic, the hotel has enough space to house students with no additional risk to Marriott guests, the university said. Hotel staff do not interact with students, nor do housekeepers clean the rooms when students are in them. The university, which co-owns the Marriott, deliver meals to students, the school said.

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The number of positive cases on the UD campus peaked at 167 on Aug. 28, and the school has reported a total of more than 1,200 cases since Aug. 10. The number of cases have fluctuated the past couple of months, and classes were held remotely the first two weeks of the semester. However, the cases have steadily declined the past week, as they’ve been in single digits for consecutive days.

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