Lafayette provides housing for Easton firefighters, police officers, and EMS to self-isolate during COVID-19 pandemic
By Shannon Sigafoos
Lafayette College has joined with numerous higher education institutions across the country in offering free housing to local first responders during the growing surge of COVID-19 cases.
Easton firefighters, police officers, and EMS have two available housing units to utilize—should the need arise—where they will be able to safely isolate from their families and colleagues. One of the homes is in the College Hill neighborhood, while the other is located in Forks Township.
While both homes currently remain empty, their availability to those on the front lines of the city’s medical response teams continues Lafayette’s initial response since the pandemic began. The College also has provided Easton first responders with supplies such as N95 masks, PPE, 3D printed face shields, and disinfecting supplies.
“As the city was developing its response to COVID, we were contacted with the request for first responder isolation housing. Fortunately we had two houses available that were furnished that we could make available. In coordination with Lafayette’s facilities and public safety teams, we also developed a system where no contact needs to happen between the person needing isolation and members of our staff,” says Melissa Starace, assistant to the president for board and community relations.
Should the housing be needed, the city would then take care of making sure that any first responders needing to isolate at these homes get what they need in terms of food, clothing, medications, and other necessities. Once the need for COVID isolation periods are over, the College will take care of the full cleaning of the house. Easton Fire Chief Mike Krill is coordinating with Starace on behalf of the city.
“There’s a great peace of mind for our first responders, knowing that if they needed a place to go—they didn’t have to return to their families or to their colleagues on the front line,” Starace says. “The College is proud to support our first responders and their efforts. Lafayette College and the City of Easton have a strong partnership, and this is the right thing to do for our community.”