Local universities offering housing to health care workers on front lines of coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — Three Ohio universities are offering unused dormitory rooms to help support local healthcare workers.

As of Monday, Malone University, Walsh University and the University of Mount Union are all offering rooms to help health care workers shorten their commutes or isolate themselves to protect their families from COVID-19.

“What they are doing now is many of them they are going home and they are stripping down their clothes in the garage, they go right to the shower and then get on clean clothes, no physical contact with anyone in the family until they sort of clean themselves up, that’s what they are doing to protect their families,” said Dr. Tim Collins, President of Walsh University.

Collins said he and other administrators at Walsh University in Canton realized in early March that they could put the dormitory space to good use after students were already sent home to comply with distancing requirements.

“We have ten residence halls here where there may be a situation where as this unfolds the medical workers themselves may be uncomfortable returning to their own homes and possibly putting their families at risk,” said Collins.

Walsh University is offering space in three of its residence halls which are set up as apartments to employees of Aultman and Mercy Hospitals.

In Alliance. The University of Mt. Union is offering similar rooms in King Hall to employees of Aultman Alliance Community Hospital.

“It’s set up now so we have an agreement with Aultman so that if employees decide they don’t want to go home they have a place where there’s a refrigerator in the room and they can get some food in and they can sleep and shower and function that way,” said Mt. Union President Dr. Dick Merriman.

Collins said Walsh University is going two steps farther, making unused gymnasium space available for ‘field hospitals’ if the need arises and planning to make parking lots available so that various resources, including the National Guard, could stage there if they are asked to respond.

The offer is good until it is no longer needed.

“Its time to lend a hand and we are happy to be able to do it,” said Merriman.

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