Interior of a modular unit

Modular units available to isolate if needed

August 27, 2020

University News

Modular units have been installed on campus for isolation and quarantine of residential students who either contract COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus. The units can accommodate 150 students, although the hope is that they will be used infrequently, or not at all. 

Five of the units will each house 10 students, for a total of 50 beds. Twenty of the units will each house five students, for a total of 100 beds. The units — part of the many prevention strategies Richmond has put in place to protect the university community and respond to COVID-19 — have windows, air conditioning, and heat.

“We worked with an immunologist who helped us with the number to look for — we worked with a 5% model — and were able to secure the number of modular units for quarantine and isolation to meet the guidelines that were given to us for the amount of students we do have residing on campus,” said Patrick Benner, director of Residence Life and Housing.

If a student tests positive or shows symptoms, the student will be met and transported to one of the units. Protocols are set up with the Student Health Center, the UR police department, and the residence life and housing team.

The students will be supported academically, mentally, and nutritionally. “The students are going to have support when they are in these spaces,” Benner said. “We’ve done a lot of work to ensure that from the academic side of things to the mental and student health components that we will be working with them to ensure their comfort level.”

“We thought about the needs for our students from an academic perspective and from a mental health and medical standpoint,” he said. “We thought about what amenities they would have in their dorm room.”

Each room comes with a twin-sized bed, a dresser, and a desk and chair for studying. The rooms also have a television and micro fridge, as well as high-speed internet. Food will be delivered to each unit. Laundry service will be provided to the five-person units. Laundry facilities are on-site for the 10-person units.

“We know the students are going to have to be in here for a period of time, so we wanted to make sure they had all the amenities, and they’re comfortable and similar to their dorm room,” said Paul Lozo, director of environmental operations. “Our goal was to make them as comfortable as we could.”

“We want to make things as easy as possible for these students whether they’re in isolation for 10 days or quarantine for 14 days,” Benner added.

Video: Director of Residence Life and Housing Patrick Benner gives a tour of the modular units that will serve as isolation and quarantine spaces for students, if needed.