URBANA, Ill. (WCIA)– The official hotel of the University of Illinois won’t be available for guests as students return for class.
43 rooms at the Illini Union Hotel are being reserved for students in case they have to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test or quarantine after an exposure.
The Director of Public Affairs, Robin Kaler, said she’s optimistic this semester will be better than last fall.
As of Wednesday, the 7-day average positivity rate for the university, including students, faculty and all other staff, is the highest it’s been in almost a year (0.76%). The peak was in September 2020, and that was more than twice the current rate (1.21%).
The Illini Union Hotel can be a busy place. We asked Kaler how much money the school is losing by canceling reservations. She said U of I has lost millions over the course of the pandemic, but safety has to be priority number one. Kaler wasn’t sure exactly how much will be lost from this but said it is a “relatively small piece of the pie”.
All hotel staff will remain employed during this time, according to Kaler.
The Illini Union has been used for quarantine at other times throughout the pandemic. It’s not a new idea, Kaler said.
The rooms will be reserved for isolation and quarantine through at least September 15. Around that time, the university will decide if it needs to be extended.