GRAND FORKS — UND has contracted with three local hotels to isolate students who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The hotel rooms are meant for students who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or those who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Cara Halgren, vice president of student affairs at UND, said during a student/parent forum held virtually on Wednesday, Aug. 12, that students need to have a place to safely quarantine or isolate if they or a close contact test positive. As a result, the university reserved hotel space.
“We want them to quarantine and isolate as safely as possible, and we recognize that students in the residence halls and some of our students living off campus, including in apartments or in Greek chapter houses are not able to do so,” she said. “As a result, UND has designated hotel spaces and dining that will be available to those students at no additional charge for the duration of that quarantine isolation time.”
Students need to inform the university that they’ve tested positive in order to set up the accommodations.
As of Thursday, Aug. 13, UND had three individuals in isolation in hotel spaces, according to UND spokesman David Dodds. Isolated individuals are those who have tested positive for the virus. Quarantine is the term used for someone who has not yet tested positive but who has been determined to be a close contact of someone who has. Isolation would last for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive test, while quarantine would last for 14 days from when a close contact tested positive.
The hotels UND has contracted with include Canad Inns, La Quinta Inn & Suites and the Econo Lodge.
Each contract has a set number of rooms, around 20 per hotel available for university use through June 2021.
“UND selected hotels that had existing contracts in place with the state for the same purposes,” Dodds said. “In addition, some hotels reached out to the university to learn more about the opportunity. UND also reached out further on our own with several hotels in the area.”
The rooms cost from $55 to $60 (plus tax) per day.
These rooms will be paid for by the institution and submitted for reimbursement by FEMA through its Public Assistance Program as a reimbursable expense for non-congregate sheltering related to the pandemic. This is reimbursable to 75% and will require a 25% local match, which can be paid for through CARES Act funding. The rooms will be paid for as the university needs them, Dodds said.
There will be no cost to students for use of the hotels, Dodds said.
Dodds said the university has done an analysis of the number of rooms projected to be utilized and feel that it has secured enough spaces for now.
UND dining services will deliver meals to those in quarantine and isolation, Dodds said. The meals would be part of the students’ individual meal plans with the university.
In the case of International students, who are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, the university is picking up the cost of meals. Students also could utilize meal delivery services from local establishments and the hotel staff will deliver items to their door. Those meals would be paid for out-of-pocket.
Students can use their personal vehicles, ride share or university police can assist students with getting to and from the rooms.
If students have to isolate or quarantine in a hotel room, they should collect their items and then will be moved into the room once they are ready. Dodds said it would be important for them to collect their computers and school work so they could continue in their classes remotely. But if they forget items, they can have friends or family members drop items off at the front desk and employees of the hotels will deliver the items to their door.