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UMass Offers COVID-19 Isolation Spaces For Off-Campus Students

A COVID-19 testing site at the Mullins Center on the UMass Amherst campus.
Adam Frenier
A COVID-19 testing site at the Mullins Center on the UMass Amherst campus.

UMass Amherst said 17 students have tested positive for COVID19 since April — all but one who lives off-campus.

The school’s public health director, Ann Becker, said UMass is offering students – including those who live in off-campus apartments — the opportunity to quarantine or isolate on-campus

“We have dedicated isolation spaces,” Becker said during a virtual community forum Thursday evening.  “We’re obviously not going to leave them in the residence halls with other students, but we have space and a team to help manage these students who are in isolation.”  

Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the town does not maintain an isolation facility, but they are able to provide assistance for students who have been impacted in other ways. 

“If they need food or if they need social support, we do have a staff that is ready to help,” said Bockelman. 

A UMass spokesman, Ed Blaguszewski, said roughly 10 off-campus students have accepted isolation space from the university. 

Meanwhile, UConn is not making a similar offer to its off-campus students, but university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the school will make isolation space available if it's medically necessary. 

“On-campus isolation beds are intended for residential students given that they have congregate housing and use congregate dining areas,” Reitz said in an email.

UConn has reported more than 100 positive COVID-19 tests from students at the Storrs campus, including commuter students.

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