Elon University is renting hotel rooms at the Tru by Hilton hotel and Holiday Inn Express in Burlington for students who need to quarantine after contracting or being potentially exposed to the coronavirus, according to the Holiday Inn Express and students staying at Tru hotel.
As of Aug. 31, there have been 16 coronavirus cases on Elon’s campus since freshman move-in. 70 students are in quarantine, and 35 of those are in “temporary quarantine spaces” which include hotel rooms.
Students who live off-campus or live on-campus and have their own room and bathroom are quarantining in their place of residence. There are 35 students in this position as of Aug. 31.
Elon sophomore Ivy Montague said she has been staying at the Tru hotel since Aug. 20 and is leaving on September 2. Montague did not leave the hotel except to be tested for the virus.
She tested negative but said the university is requiring her to stay at the hotel for a full 14 days.
“Socially, it isn’t as bad as I thought,” Montague said. “I was only on campus for two days before I had to go into quarantine so it’s kind of like how it was before. I’m just Facetiming all of my friends and everything. It’s not fun. But, it’s more manageable than I thought it was.”
The Tru by Hilton hotel told Elon News Network that they cannot “confirm nor deny” that Elon students are quarantining at the hotel.
Owen Covington, director of the Elon University News Bureau, said Elon is not “publicly identifying” the hotels that students are staying at.
“These hotel operators have been valuable partners in the university's plans to ensure the health and safety of students,” Covington said.
However, Montague said she believes the university is renting the entire hotel for quarantining students.
According Tru by Hilton’s website, the hotel has no rooms available until Thanksgiving, Nov. 26. Elon’s last day of in-person classes for the fall semester is set for Nov. 23.
According to Jeff Stein, chair of the Ready & Resilient Committee and vice president for Strategic Initiatives, students in quarantine are students that “might be sick” and have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Students in isolation have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Holiday Inn Express — which is walking distance from the Tru hotel — is also hosting Elon students. The hotel told Elon News Network that three students left the hotel from quarantine on Aug. 31, and another is leaving on Sept. 7.
The Holiday Inn Express said it is only hosting students in quarantine after they test negative for the virus.
Montague said she knows an Elon student who is quarantining on campus in the Colonnades Neighborhood because they could not drive themselves to one of the hotels.
Sophomore Sage Albert is another student being held at a local hotel. She said she was instructed not to “publish [her location] or say it on social media.”
“I was cautious about telling a lot of people just because I didn’t wanna be like, ‘Oh, you have the scarlet letter’,” Albert said. “I don’t want people to be freaked out when I come back on campus and for them to be like ‘Oh, she had COVID,’ which I didn't. Just because I was in quarantine doesn’t mean I had COVID.”
Albert told Elon News Networkthat she is receiving food from both Elon Dining and can also order from food delivery services like DoorDash.
To receive food from the Elon Dining, Albert said she fills out a form for breakfast, lunch and dinner separately telling the university what she wants to eat and what day she wants it. There is no extra charge since she has the All-Access meal plan.
Baylor Rodman and Jack Norcross contributed to the reporting of this story.