The university has again added quarantine and isolation rooms, bringing the total number of beds to 560, Stacey Bradley, the senior associate vice president for student affairs and academic support, said.
An additional 132 rooms were added at the SpringHill Suites Columbia, a hotel in the Vista. Bradley said though the university is still working out the contract, the rooms are now available for use.
“We have the entire facility because we want to make sure that we can care for our students; that we can support them, service them and secure them,” Bradley said.
Bradley said she was not able to comment on the additional costs of housing students in hotel rooms.
Bradley said the quarantine and isolation dorms — Bates West and the National Advocacy Center (NAC) — did not fill up. She said the university added the hotel rooms to be prepared and to provide “the best and most comfortable service for students.”
“At no point will we be in a position that our capacity is full. We will continue to monitor and continue to adjust,” Bradley said. “We have that flexibility and that search space built into our plan so that at any point we can draw on additional resources to make sure that we have that needed capacity.”
About 200 students will be coming out of quarantine/isolation over the next five days, which will free up some spaces, Bradley said.
Students in quarantine and isolation housing are being monitored by staff to ensure they don’t violate quarantine/isolation rules. There are also runners present to deliver packages to students, according to April Barnes, the executive director of student housing.
“Our students have done really, really well with our quarantine and isolation procedures," Barnes said. "They actually stay in their rooms, they just, they don't come out. Meal deliveries are delivered right to their door.”
Bradley addressed student concerns about food while in quarantine and said Carolina Food Co. is “going to be adding some more snacks to that delivery.”
At the beginning of the fall semester, the university had a total quarantine and isolation capacity of 285 between Bates West and the NAC. On Tuesday, the university announced they had expanded further into the NAC, bringing the total to 428.
The total capacity is now 560, with the addition of 132 rooms at SpringHill Suites.
Quarantine is for students who have come into direct contact with a positive testing student. Isolation is for students that have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.
This article was updated at Sept. 4 at 3:16 p.m.