Person confirmed with COVID-19 was at DePaul-used facility Cinespace

DePaul is suspending its students’ involvement with Cinespace Chicago Film Studios after someone working on the premises tested positive for COVID-19. 

Officials announced on Monday that a production member for the FOX show “NeXt” that films at one of Cinespace’s sets, tested positive for the virus. 

Cinespace is a studio campus on the city’s West Side. Students in the School of Cinematic Arts, part of the College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM), attend classes and hold jobs at the 32,000 square feet, three-stage production space that DePaul operates on the site, and it is commonly used on tours for prospective students. 

This prompted DePaul CDM faculty to end student participation at the facility until Thursday, with plans to assess the situation on Thursday afternoon. If there have been no further developments, they will “reopen for business Friday morning,” according to Director of DePaul Cinespace Studios John Corba. 

“While there is a very low probability that DePaul’s facility at Cinespace has been contaminated, we are taking extra measures to disinfect and mitigate our entrances, offices, classrooms, bathrooms and common areas,” Corba wrote in an email sent to students with ties to Cinespace on Tuesday morning. 

Junior Ronan Morrissey studies film and television in CDM and is a studio technician for DePaul’s studios at Cinespace. He was last at Cinespace this past Sunday. He was nervous after receiving Corba’s email on Tuesday.

“It’s a pretty serious situation,” Morrissey said. 

Although he doesn’t think the person with the virus was in the same part of the complex as DePaul’s studios, he wants to take every precaution. He said he will defer his decision for what to do moving forward to DePaul’s administration. He’s been following the school’s press releases on the virus. 

“I’m going to follow that and see where it leads me,” Morrissey said. 

This is a personal decision and not what Corba or CDM explicitly advised in the email. 

COVID-19 spreads person-to-person, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s website. The organization recommends patients who contract the strain of coronavirus be isolated.

Neither John Corba or J.A. Hardy, the Cinespace studio coordinator for DePaul, responded to a  request for comment. 

The number of DePaul students who work or study at Cinespace is unclear, though Morrissey said he thinks about 20 students are employed there. According to the most recent data published, there were 5,703 undergraduate and graduate DePaul students enrolled in CDM in the 2017-2018 school year, though only a portion of those are in the School of Cinematic Arts. 

Morrissey spoke with his coworkers after they got word about the closure on Tuesday morning. He said they were asking each other if anyone had more information, especially about equipment reservations, how classes that are usually held at the studio will be taught and when they’ll be scheduled to work again. 

In the interest of taking preventive measures, Cinespace, including DePaul’s facilities, are undergoing a deep cleaning,” DePaul spokesperson Carol Hughes said in an email.