The Collegian
Saturday, September 24, 2022

Housing moves Atlantic House residents to create backup quarantine space

The entrance to Atlantic House, adjacent to Old Fraternity Row.
The entrance to Atlantic House, adjacent to Old Fraternity Row.

University of Richmond officials plan to turn Atlantic House into additional isolation and quarantine space after a COVID-19 spike that has raised the occupancy of the existent units to almost half.

Patrick Benner, director of residence life and housing, notified eight students living in Atlantic House Thursday that they would have to move to other dormitories, according to an email obtained by The Collegian. 

The students received their new housing assignments today and are expected to relocate by 5 p.m. on Monday, according to Benner’s email. Housing will provide moving boxes and assistance. 

“We are now in a position in which we must re-assign you to another housing location on campus so that we can turn over and prepare Atlantic House for backup spaces to be used when and if needed,” Benner wrote in the email to the students.

The decision to relocate the students was made out of an abundance of caution given that, as of Jan. 28, almost 48% of the spaces for isolation and quarantine are being used by students who have contracted COVID-19, wrote Sunni Brown, director of media and public relations, in an email to The Collegian. However, the COVID-19 dashboard, which was last updated Thursday, currently states that there are 99 active cases and 45% of the isolation and quarantine spaces are occupied. 

“We appreciate and thank these students for their support of their classmates as the University works to respond to the needs of our campus community, including maintaining the well-being of our residential academic community,” Brown said.

Senior Bryan Yackel said it was jarring to have to move out so suddenly, especially when it was only a possibility that the rooms would be used as isolation space.

“I’m just trying to finish out my last three months here and they’re kinda turning my life upside down,” he said.

The students will be relocated into an open single, double or triple room in an upper-level residence hall but will live alone for the remainder of the spring term, according to the email. 

UR donated five double-wide modular units used for isolation and quarantine last July to the Family Crisis Support Services, an organization that provides emergency shelter and transitional residential housing, according to a Collegian article. Because of this donation, there are fewer units available for students who have contracted COVID-19 this semester. 

At the time, UR no longer needed all of its units for quarantine space because of the rising vaccination rates among students, according to a press release.

Contact news editor Natasha Sokoloff at natasha.sokoloff@richmond.edu and editor-in-chief Jackie Llanos at jacke.llanoshernandez@richmond.edu

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