UC offers temporary housing for COVID-19 first responders, medical staff

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Design by Alyssa McKenna

Kaitlyn Tambasco, Managing News Editor

The empty Utica College campus will soon receive new temporary residents. Health care staff and first responders will lodge in the campus residence halls during the COVID-19 pandemic in the upcoming weeks.

UC dedicated several rooms in the former residence hall Burrstone House, for first responders and  MVHS healthcare professionals will be housed in Boehlert Hall, Director of Emergency Management Shad Crowe said.

Crowe said UC is expecting between 50 and 75 medical staff to take advantage of this opportunity within the next few weeks. First responders and health professionals undergo health screening repeatedly throughout their workday and will do so prior to lodging as well.

“The need is primarily for local healthcare professionals working extended hours who are on a short turnaround until their next shift,” Crowe said. “This allows them a place to stay and rest rather than risk traveling home after long hours.”

Crowe explained that UC stepped in to fill the void once the need for housing from those groups was identified. 

Healthcare staff and first responders have expressed their gratitude to the college repeatedly, Crowe said. The family members of these professionals have also contacted UC to extend their thanks for supporting their loved ones.

A community member who wished to remain anonymous has spent the majority of his professional life working closely with healthcare professionals. He said it is a profession many people give no thought to and some even have disdain for until they actually need them. 

“These women and men return to work every single day, day after day, regardless of how much death, heartache and tragedy they witnessed or anger and threats they received the day before,” he said. “Providing them a safe, clean space to rest, an opportunity to recharge and prepare to wade back into the fight, is something that would not be possible without the Utica College team.” 

President Laura Casamento said since UC is an anchor institution in the City of Utica, they understand the integral role the college plays in the life and vibrancy of the community. She said the college is always willing to help, especially in a time of crisis and great need. 

“ When we heard there might be a need for medical personnel and first responders to have an alternative place to stay in order to keep their families safe during this stressful and uncertain time, we were happy to open our doors to them, and we consider ourselves fortunate to be in a position to do so.  Giving back to the community that gives us so much in return is part of the DNA of Utica College. “