The COVID-19 pandemic forced colleges and universities throughout the country to close early in spring 2020 and empty out their dormitories. The fall 2020 semester changes caused university administrators to think beyond the norm when it came to reopening safely in order to maintain social distancing requirements and address the concerns of students and their families. Typical college dormitories cramming two, three or more students into a room are becoming a thing of the past as schools face the new reality of campus housing in the time of coronavirus. Many schools do not have the space to provide each student with their own room or even a larger shared room. The campus space crunch will get worse during the fall semester as study abroad programs are canceled or if campus outbreaks necessitate further distancing.
Temporarily housing students in hotels is a practical and immediate solution. This option resolves a logistical nightmare by allowing students to socially distance and, depending on the state, permits schools to comply with emerging guidelines issued by state and local health departments. A growing number of colleges and universities have entered into agreements for the use of guest rooms for their students. Likewise, entering into an agreement with a college or university can be a silver lining during a challenging year for hotels and provide a steady stream of revenue for months to come.
Some of the requirements and priorities for colleges in evaluating a hotel include: proximity to campus, whether students can have an entire floor, wing or tower of the hotel, limited elevator access, high-speed internet and Wi-Fi, security, cleaning, dining options, parking, laundry, meeting spaces and additional amenities.
Before entering into any agreement with a college or university, hotel owners and operators should consider the following issues and concerns: