Amid COVID surge, some RIT students forced to temporarily re-locate

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The COVID surge is turning the start of school into a struggle for more than a hundred Rochester Institute of Technology students.

With classes resuming Monday, they’re being forced to move out of their dorm to make room for quarantine. 120 students are being relocated to one of two units.

About 70 students inside the former Radisson Hotel on Jefferson Road are being moved to either the Strathallan. The rest of the students will be going to APEX, which is adjacent to RIT. Some of those students that have been told they have to move tell News10NBC that they’re ok with moving if it keeps others safe from COVID, but at the same time, they wish the campus gave more notice.

"They’re doing what’s best for this community to have in-person classes, the only thing is I wish there was more notification and if we had more answers,” said Cody Williams, one student who has to move.

Saturday morning, two days before classes start, a letter was sent to some RIT students who are living inside the former Radisson Hotel dorm on Jefferson. Students were notified that they had to leave their current dorm and move to the Strathallan Hotel, which is 20 minutes away from campus.

"They have provided arraignments. It’s just the way it was executed is like building the plane while you’re flying it, and that just wasn’t properly handled in my opinion, but I also understand the situation especially given how these times are,” said Winger, another student who has to relocate.

With a rise in COVID cases, the school decided to move students to create more isolation rooms. A spokesperson for the school says their current quarantine spaces are located on the fourth floor of the former Radisson building.

In a statement Sunday night, the school said, "We realize this is a disruption and an inconvenience and appreciate their understanding and patience. We will move the students, provide daily transportation, reduce their housing fee, and ensure they have a private room similar to their current housing accommodations."

"I’m a little concerned about how I’m going to use my meal plan, as far as I know, we won’t be able to access it downtown. The tuition reduction doesn’t seem to be something that can compensate enough for eating out,” Winger said.

Other students who also got the same letter, like Matthew Wylie, are worried about transportation.

"From a place that’s in walking distance to campus, to a 20-minute drive, yes they’re giving us a shuttle, but that’s unreliable,” Wylie said.

Students were given the option to terminate their housing contract without penalty. They have Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to relocate. RIT officials say this move is temporary, and those who move will be inside the Strathallan for about two months.