Custodial Staff Focus on Safety

Written by Annelia Nixon, Reporter

Photo by Victoria Cimerman

  With classes being face-to-face during a global pandemic, Facilities Planning and Operations and the university custodial staff have had to take on more responsibilities.

  Enhanced cleaning protocols are being used, especially in the case that someone tests positive for the coronavirus. Debora Williams, manager of custodial services, said she and her staff follow the Center for Disease Control’s instructions.

  Williams said the custodial staff is worried about contracting the coronavirus. However, the custodial staff has been equipped with the proper personal protective equipment and tools to aid in their safety. 

  “If we were cleaning a space where a person infected with COVID has been present, we wait 24 hours or as long as possible before we go in with a device called the Clorox 360, which is an electrostatic sprayer that fogs a room with disinfectant and clings to all surfaces,” Williams said. “Later the same day, we go back in spray and wipe with a disinfectant on all surfaces.”

  Williams also said classes are set up in a way that allows for more cleaning between meetings. Disinfecting kits are available and placed in some classrooms. She explained UCM has purchased new tools and disinfectants that aid in cleaning between classes. 

  Williams explained there is no new cleaning schedule to combat COVID-19. However, the custodial staff is focusing on disinfecting commonly touched points around campus and housing facilities. She said these areas are cleaned twice daily. One of the biggest changes to the custodial staff’s duties is cleaning and disinfecting more often than usual. While the custodial staff is doing their part, Williams encourages students and other staff members to do theirs.

  “Our cleaning protocols are based on applicable guidance and have been developed to optimally protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, with minimal disruption to their schooling and work,” she said. “However, it is everyone’s responsibility to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and following CDC guidelines.” 

  Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Dr. Nicole Freeman, said, “ I think the custodial staff are truly amazing. Talk about a huge job, and one that goes primarily unnoticed. I hope they know how much we thank and appreciate all they are doing.”

  Junior Gretchen Prelinger said she thinks the custodial staff should be thanked for their work.

  “I feel as though the custodial staff has the same role they always have, keeping us safe and the campus clean,” Prelinger said. “However, with all the extra cleaning they are doing, I think it would be awesome if more students would be sure to thank our custodial staff for all the hard work they are doing whenever they see them.”