The University of Wisconsin-Madison opened one of its residence halls, Dejope, Tuesday night to help provide temporary housing for healthcare workers amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dejope Residence Hall was made available to healthcare workers from UW Health and UnityPoint Health-Meriter “who basically want a place to crash without going home,” UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said at a faculty committee meeting Monday.

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Many healthcare workers, who had been on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, said they were concerned about contracting the virus and unknowingly putting their family members at risk, according to reporting from the Wisconsin State Journal

UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email to The Badger Herald that University Housing worked through the weekend to make sure Dejope was ready to take in healthcare workers, and the first worker stayed at Dejope last night.

University Housing currently staffs the building, and they’re providing cleaning, maintenance, linens and desk services for anyone staying in the building. There are no dining locations operating in the Lakeshore area at this point, but University Housing will reevaluate the situation if demand grows, UW Housing spokesperson Brendon Dybdahl said in the email to The Badger Herald. 

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Vice President of Facilities and Support Services at UW Health Liz Douglas said UW Health has been lucky to partner with Housing, in a statement from McGlone.

“We are incredibly grateful to have a partner like the university in this COVID-19 response and appreciate their hard work in preparing these sites,” Douglas said. “We can’t thank our campus partners enough for their steadfast support of the front-line health care workers at UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter who are working to keep our patients and our community safe through this crisis.”

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McGlone said Dejope Residence Hall is the second university building utilized to support the community’s response to COVID-19. Wisconsin Emergency Management has also housed members of the public needing isolation in
the Lowell Center.