BOSTON (CBS) – As college students return to campuses in the Boston area this fall, many of them will be checking into area hotels – for the entire year.
Several colleges will be using hotel rooms to safely house students instead of relying only on dormitories. Dorms usually come with roommates, and colleges need to offer more single rooms to line up with social distancing guidelines brought on by the coronavirus.
Universities including Suffolk, Northeastern, Boston University, and New England Conservatory are already making deals with area hotels. If approved by the city, the hotels will offer up rooms, and some are reserving entire floors for college students.
Hotels locking in deals include The Hyatt downtown, The DoubleTree in Chinatown. The Copley Place Westin and The Wyndham near Massachusetts General Hospital.
The stays will cover the entire school year, and some contracts would separate students from other hotel guests. Suffolk University is already making arrangements to lock in about 500 rooms.
“This not only provides the safest possible setting for returning students to Suffolk University, but it also gives the hotel industry, which is really struggling, a boost,” said John Nucci of Suffolk University.
Steve Dimitriou of Mayflower Advisors said, “This is an absolute lifeline for some of those hotels that are teaming up with the colleges… This is a tremendous opportunity for hotels to stay in business, retain their workforce.”
According to plans submitted to the state, universities will treat students living in hotels like students living in dorms, including requiring masks and submitting to regular COVID testing.
The plan is designed to give students the same dorm room experience at the same cost. That means hotel staff will not be cleaning the rooms. Students would be responsible for that as they would in a dorm.
According to Nucci, the university will have staff on every floor to monitor behavior.