Residence halls expected to be in use for Democratic National Convention amid pandemic

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Residence Halls can be expected to be used for the democratic national convention.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Democratic National Convention to greatly reduce its number of delegates and visitors traveling to Milwaukee, one-third of Marquette University’s residence hall rooms will still be occupied by convention related guests. The rooms will be occupied by law enforcement, media outlets and contractors. 

It is unclear as to what residence halls will be used.

Initially expected to draw 50,000 visitors to the city, that number will now be far smaller as the convention has been significantly scaled back due to the ongoing pandemic. It will be held Aug. 17-20. 

Due to physical distancing requirements, Marquette is no longer accepting further room or event reservations related to the convention, Lynn Griffith, university spokesperson, said in an email. A number of events utilizing residence hall and other spaces on campus during the convention have also been canceled. 

The university has scaled back the number of occupants to one per room in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Guests will also be expected to follow Marquette’s COVID-19 guidelines, which include wearing a face covering when in public spaces or in the presence of others, washing hands regularly and social distancing. 

All rooms have been deep cleaned and sanitized prior to the arrival of convention guests, Griffith said in the email. Rooms will also be disinfected and deep cleaned when the guests depart. 

Students can start to move into residence halls for the fall semester beginning Aug. 23.

“Each entity with guests staying on campus will administer daily temperature checks,” Griffith said in the email. “Any guest that exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive will immediately leave campus to quarantine off-site.” 

A COVID-19 disclosure form is available for faculty, staff and students to voluntarily report whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are presumed positive and self-quarantining. 

While the number of delegates and visitors is expected to be lesser than first anticipated, there are reports that protestors will congregate in Milwaukee. How large the demonstrations will be and who will be demonstrating remains unclear. 

Employees and students on campus are asked to display their university identification from August 10-20. All campus buildings except the Alumni Memorial Union will be locked and require MUID access. University employees and students that can work remotely the week of the convention are asked to do so to “limit the number of individuals on campus”, Griffith sad in the email. 

The university will utilize its text and email safety alert system to notify the community of any active threats to campus. 

 Revenue from convention related guests staying on campus will be utilized for student scholarships. 

This story was written by Lelah Byron. She can be reached at lelah.byron@marquette.edu.