As the number of positive COVID-19 cases on Missouri State’s campus continues to climb, the university sources additional quarantine locations off-campus.
According to Missouri State’s COVID-19 Information Center, as of Sunday, Aug. 30, Missouri State reported a total of 524 positive COVID-19 cases on its campus over the first two weeks of classes. 672 tests have been administered in the last seven days, as of Friday, Sept. 4.
The university has one on-campus location for quarantining students — Kentwood Hall with 73 beds — as well as four locations off-campus. In addition, there is one location off-campus for isolating students who test positive — The Q Hotel & Suites with 120 beds, according to Gary Stewart, director of residence life, housing and dining services.
Of the off-campus quarantine locations, the university has secured up to 50 beds at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, 40 beds at Greenstay Hotel & Suites, 70 beds at Bear Village and 23 beds at The Christina Apartments, Stewart said.
Students placed in quarantine are those who have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive or is symptomatic. Students placed in isolation have tested positive for the virus.
The university is currently finalizing its agreement with Bryan Properties to lease out The Christina Apartments. The tenants at the apartment complex have been relocated to other Bryan properties.
Cariann Dureka, senior illustration major, renewed her lease at The Christina Apartments at 440 E. Madison St. in July of this year. She and her roommate were told by Bryan Properties on Aug. 25 that they had until Sept. 31 to pack up their things and find a different apartment for the time being.
Dureka said the hardest part was “getting my entire life pretty much packed up and moved, almost entirely alone,” given the little time and notice she was given to move.
“It completely threw a wrench into my schoolwork, and I’m still trying to catch up,” Dureka said.
Bryan Properties is offering movers and trucks to help with the process for their tenants.
Dureka said her parents helped her move because she didn't know when the movers or trucks would be available.
"The fact that they seemed to be turning these apartments into makeshift dorms — because nearly as quickly as they were moving people out, they were moving dorm furniture in — at the expense of so many residents is pretty awful," Dureka said.
Jen Cox, MSU space manager and director of support services, said the landlords of The Christina Apartments are providing furniture as part of the lease agreement.
The university’s agreement with The Christina Apartments will likely carry over into the spring semester, as Bryan Properties requested their agreement with MSU to include the full academic school year, Cox said.
"This also ensures the university has rooms for use with COVID-19 for the spring semester," Cox said.
According to David Hall, director of university safety, the university is using part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to cover the cost of relocating students to off-campus locations.
Hall said the university has contracts with each location and the costs vary, but the university does pay per night charges at Rail Haven and Greenstay.
“This provides us surge capacity if we need those spaces,” Hall said.
Cox said the university does not plan to lease out or contract with any more hotels or apartment complexes.
“We believe we have sufficient inventory of rooms to accommodate the need for quarantine and isolation,” Cox said.