The University of Guelph is providing temporary housing to health-care workers, emergency responders and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting this week, the University will allot space in campus residences for workers in health care or emergency services looking to live apart from their families while caring for patients or providing other services.

“Health-care workers and emergency responders are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Irene Thompson, U of G’s director of student housing services.

Irene Thompson
Irene Thompson

“Many of these critical workers are concerned about the possibility of carrying the virus home and exposing their family members. Providing them with housing options felt like something tangible the University could do to help,” she said.

The University was asked by local nurses and other health-care workers and agencies about using U of G campus residences temporarily.

“U of G is a key member of the greater Guelph community, and we are all in this together,” said Carrie Chassels, U of G’s vice-provost (student affairs), who heads the University’s Community Support Working Group.

“We are committed to doing our part to help our community during this incredibly challenging time.”

Currently, 172 students are living on campus; student residences can accommodate about 5,000 people. Those students are occupying one section of the campus residences, where Student Housing Services has made necessary accommodations to meet physical distancing requirements of public

Carrie Chassels

health. The University continues to provide food and grocery options at that location.

“The health and well-being of our campus community continues to be our top priority as we also work to support our broader community,” Chassels said.

The apartment-style residences earmarked for the community will also accommodate physical distancing, including single rooms and washrooms. Accommodations can be made to house families if necessary.

The University will make the housing available through July, with bookings daily, weekly or monthly. Pricing is based on the cost of keeping the buildings operational and ensuring hygiene and safety measures necessary to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Health-care workers and emergency responders who are interested in temporary accommodations should call 519-824-4120, Ext. 58124.

In other initiatives to help combat effects of the pandemic, the University has donated masks and other personal protective equipment to Guelph General Hospital. It has donated other medical supplies, has used its 3-D printers to make masks and other protective equipment, is helping develop improved testing methods and is supporting campus and community food banks.

Daniel Atlin
Daniel Atlin

“Every day, I am so impressed and proud of how our U of G community is stepping up to help,” said Daniel Atlin, vice-president (external).

“On campus, we have many workers who continue to come to work every day to ensure our campus remains operational, safe and secure. Off-campus, people are coming up with new ideas and initiatives to help make a difference. I am proud of all of our faculty, staff and students.”