VCU now using residence halls to isolate students as COVID-19 cases increase

98 students and 12 staff members have tested positive

VCU now using residence halls to isolate students as COVID-19 cases increase
Honors College residential housing (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Commonwealth University is now using residence halls to isolate students as COVID-19 cases increase on campus.

School officials point to a cluster of positive cases - 44 in total - that came from the university’s athletics program as the need for the additional space.

As of Thursday, Aug. 27, there are 98 students with COVID-19 and 12 staff members. The school reports its percent positivity rate for testing as 1.4 percent - much lower than the state average. The university launched an online dashboard to report the daily updates.

Plans to convert the Honors College residence housing into overflow space for the VCU Health System started in March. At the time, students said the school never told them about the project.

“Our trust was violated. Our privacy was violated and we feel like we were forgotten,” freshman Leah Tyrell said.

VCU said in a statement in part:

“Unfortunately this work began before we were able to notify students and their families of this emergency decision. We apologize and we are operating in a crisis situation with many moving parts ... There is every intention to return the building to Honors College housing once the crisis has passed.”

Since the Honors College housing was originally built as a hospital, only minor modifications were made. The beds are in addition to more than 50 that were reserved in the Gladding Residence Center III, for a total of 160 isolation beds on campus.

School officials say they are now working to relocate any classes, office and labs impacted by the change.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.