Building Services prepares for the fall semester

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John Wensits and Melissa Clingaman from Building Services disinfect a classroom.

Building Services staff have spent the several months preparing campus buildings and facilities for students, faculty and staff to return this fall.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it safe for people to be here and be able to stay here,” says Chris Hatfield, senior director of Building Services, the department responsible for providing custodial services to campus buildings.

In preparation for the influx of people, 21 supervisor-led teams are working through the day and night, using a variety of electrostatic sprayers, pressurized and trigger sprayers and wipers to disinfect all areas. Over 7,500 gallons of hand sanitizer has been procured, and will be deployed all over campus — including in residence halls, building entrances, classrooms, and in office spaces. 

 “We mostly clean with a neutral cleaner — soap and water — to remove the dirt. This mechanical action will end up killing and removing a lot of germs. But then we follow up with a disinfectant spray,” Hatfield said.  He explains that they may disinfect a room or surface several times in a day, but a daily “wipe down” improves these disinfecting efforts.

There will be more frequent cleaning in heavily trafficked areas, such as classrooms and residence halls, which will be cleaned seven days a week, up from five, and there will also be disinfectant sprays with instructions available for students who want to use them at any time.

 Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected overnight and disinfected at least twice more during the day and stocked with surface disinfectant spray and electronics cleaner/disinfectant for faculty and student use at any time. In addition to regular cleaning, office spaces will be supplied with sprayers containing surface disinfectant as well as electronics cleaner/disinfectant for computer keyboards, mice and copiers. 

“We really need the rest of the campus community’s help,” Hatfield said. “ For example, if you use the copier or go into the lunchroom and touch the microwave and the refrigerator, the best practice would be for you to pick up that disinfectant spray bottle and to disinfect after yourself so the next person that comes in has a clear, more germ-free surface.”

The best way to sanitize is still hand washing with soap and water, according to Hatfield. But instead of using air blowers, bathrooms are being stocked with paper towels. Over 200 towel dispensers have been installed in restrooms. And physical distancing will also be encouraged, even in restrooms. A maximum number allowed will be suggested given the size of the room and number of stalls and sinks.

All of the cleaning processes follow applicable CDC guidelines as well as industry standards. Hatfield is impressed and uplifted by the work his teams have done:

“They feel pride in what they’re doing and knowing that they are a very important piece of a University and people being able to return to campus.