Statement on Feild Hall residence
The health and safety of our students is our primary concern during these unprecedented times.
In consultation with Memorial University, The Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) has given notice to Feild Hall residents notice to vacate the building. This decision was made based on health and safety considerations.
Feild Hall is an old building in which students must use shared/communal washrooms and kitchens. There are two floors with 15 rooms each and each floor has one kitchen and two bathrooms. A reasonable system to keep these kitchens and washrooms free of infection is not possible in this setting. As well, social distancing is difficult, if not impossible.
Given this serious public health emergency Memorial University has made an offer to relocate students to another residence, MacPherson Hall. The university is providing each of the residents a room at a discounted rate so that they will pay no additional rent. As well, the university will provide the students, at a discounted rate, access to the university meal plan. In this way the meals will be prepared in highly-controlled and sanitary conditions. Should students be ordered to self-isolate, the university will be able to deliver food to the rooms of students.
Opened in 2014, Macpherson Hall is less than 700 metres from Feild Hall and is not crowded. There are about 140 students living in a building designed for 500, allowing for adequate spacing of all residents. Most importantly, each of student living in Macpherson will have their own washroom. This is key in enabling students to self-isolate and protect themselves.
Dr. Cathy Donovan, a member of Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine and the Eastern Health COVID-19 Response Team, has been briefed on the situation in Feild Hall and of the offer of alternative accommodations in Macpherson Hall. She said:
“In an effort to limit the potential spread of Coronavirus, contact in co-living situations must be minimized. This means private rooms and private baths whenever possible. It also includes the implementation of measures to eliminate the use of shared spaces for activities such as cooking. Alternatives such as prepared meals from a regulated kitchen should be implemented as soon as possible.”
Again, the university is acting first out of concern for the health and safety of its students. We believe the students would be safer at MacPherson rather than Feild Hall.
Students with concerns should contact the dean of Graduate Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 p.m. March 27