Emerson College says it wants to rent nine of the currently shuttered W Hotel's eleven floors as part of its Covid-19 "de-densification" plans.
In a filing with the BPDA, the college says that all students arriving on campus this fall will have to first check into Tufts Medical Center for a Covid-19 test. Any students who show up at Tufts and report potential Covid-19 symptoms will be given a test that promises results within four hours - and if the results come back positive will be "encouraged" to turn around and go back where they came from. The school says that if students have no way to get back home, they will be offered space in a quarantine dorm the school is setting up; the proposal does not address the issue of sending people with positive Covid-19 tests back through public spaces and transport.
Symptomless students will then be assigned their room, where they will have to wait until they get results back within 48 hours. Students who get back positive results from these tests will be given a room in the school's Paramount dorm, which is being converted into use for quarantining.
In addition to their check-in test, students will then be required to go to Tufts once a week for a new Covid-19 test - and to fill out a daily symptom checklist.
Emerson says its agreement with the W will mean beds for 216 students - 208 regular students and 8 resident assistants. The school says it also plans to rent additional space in the hotel and in the nearby Park Plaza Hotel for use as a total of five new classrooms. A sixth classroom would also be placed in the Colonial Theatre.
None of the students at the W will be allowed to have guests in their rooms, on pain of being brought up for disciplinary proceedings, the college says, adding they will be required to wear a mask whenever they leave their rooms. No maid service will be provided, although the hotel will clean individual bathrooms once a week - and sanitize public spaces hourly.
Emerson says it needs the off-campus dorm space partly because it has turned all of its existing triple dorms into doubles, which eliminates about 118 beds and because it is converting its 260-bed Paramount dorm into quarantine space for students who test positive or show symptoms during the semester.
Emerson needs approval of both the BPDA and ISD for the plan.
Complete Emerson filing (4.3M PDF).