Students staying in the Main Inn of Forbes College have been relocated to Bloomberg Hall and various buildings in Whitman College so that the Main Inn’s first floor can house students who must undergo self-isolation due to COVID-19.
According to Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss, this configuration meets the New Jersey Department of Health’s self-isolation requirements.
Presumably, the Main Inn completes these requirements due to Forbes’ relative remoteness and the fact that each first-floor room in the Main Inn has a private bathroom.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25, Forbes Director of Student Life Olivia Weiner emailed those students who had received permission to remain on campus and been placed in the Main Inn that Bohren’s Moving and Storage would arrive “very early” on March 27 to help them pack their belongings and move.
“The students self-isolating at Forbes have been tested and do not currently require medical care,” Hotchkiss wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian, “though they are in close communication with University Health Services to monitor their symptoms. University staff are delivering meals to these students.”
According to the University website, six students on campus are currently in self-isolation. Of those six, only one has tested positive for COVID-19.
Chelsea Ding ’22, a student who had previously lived in the Main Inn, said she was originally stressed by the decision, especially because Weiner had told Forbes residents during spring recess that they would not be relocated. Nevertheless, she said, the move-out process was smoother than she expected.
Ding is a member of the ‘Prince’ design staff.
The roughly 10 students living in the Forbes Annex were not asked to relocate. The Annex shares common spaces with the Main Inn, but it has separate entryways.
“It was a little worrying to be living in such close proximity to quarantined people,” said an Annex resident who spoke with The Daily Princetonian on the condition of anonymity.
According to Forbes Magazine, institutions including Tufts University, Middlebury College, and New York University are preparing to convert dormitories to temporary hospitals. Forbes Magazine is not affiliated with Forbes College.
Yale University has converted part of its Payne Whitney Gym into a field hospital, where Yale Health can care for COVID-19 patients from the Yale community who do not require hospitalization. This will ease the strain on local hospitals, according to Yale.
“This transition at Forbes Main Inn also provides operational flexibility should the state request use of University spaces as part of its COVID-19 response,” Hotchkiss wrote.
The University does not yet have plans to repurpose any housing for public medical care.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized Deputy Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss’ statement. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.