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Facilities department enhances cleaning protocols around campus

by Mar. 18, 2020, 1:14 PM

Vanderbilt employees respond to challenges amid COVID-19

As students complete their academic requirements through online and alternative education, and many faculty and staff work remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Vanderbilt University continues to take precautions to ensure the health and well-being of its campus community in response to the global novel coronavirus pandemic.

Many of those helping to ensure that campus is safe are Facilities staff members working to clean and disinfect the places and spaces used daily by the Vanderbilt community.

“It makes us feel like we play an important part in what is going on at Vanderbilt,” Housekeeping supervisor Leo Squera said. “We have people who have been working at Vanderbilt for a really long time, and they take pride in their buildings and the Vanderbilt campus.”

Vanderbilt is taking precautions and being proactive, and it gives us a great sense of pride to be out front and able to let people know that we are doing everything we can to combat this. We had a lot of staff who stepped forward and said, ‘I want to be a part of this, and I want to make a difference.’

The university is increasing its cleaning and disinfecting processes in several areas of campus, and the Facilities department has designated additional personnel resources to help assist with these enhanced efforts.

“We don’t always get noticed in Facilities because we are behind the scenes, but this gives us the opportunity to stand out front and be seen. We’re trying to put our best foot forward in that,” said Building Services manager Lamar Cumings. “Vanderbilt is taking precautions and being proactive, and it gives us a great sense of pride to be out front and able to let people know that we are doing everything we can to combat this. We had a lot of staff who stepped forward and said, ‘I want to be a part of this, and I want to make a difference.’”

Staff are cleaning areas following their normal protocols for each type of space, followed by application of the disinfectant cleaning products Oxivir Five 16, Oxivir 1 Wipes and PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray. All disinfectants meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for use against COVID-19.

“These are unprecedented challenges we are facing as a higher education institution,” Assistant Vice Chancellor for Plant Operations Mark Petty said. “However, our staff are embracing the challenges that have been presented and working diligently to protect all members of our campus community.”

The university has identified the following priority spaces to be cleaned and disinfected more frequently due to their location in high-traffic areas:

  • Restrooms, locker rooms and showers
  • Lobbies, lounges, break rooms and hallways
  • Classrooms, conference rooms, lecture halls, dining sitting areas and library sitting areas (spaces where large groups of people congregate)
  • Private offices

Certain areas in these locations are receiving increased attention twice a day, including high-touch points such as door handles, light switches, handrails, interior doors, door push plates and the flat surfaces in common spaces.

Staff also have begun to power wash restrooms in common areas, locker room showers and multiple-use shower rooms throughout campus.

Campus early childhood care and education facilities and athletic facilities locker rooms and showers are being deep cleaned and then electrostatic fogged using a disinfectant product.

From the tornado that caused destruction to many neighborhoods in and around Nashville, to dealing with this global outbreak, it is truly an unprecedented time. I have been struck by the efforts and care that have been taken that are foundational to our ability to keep our campus running as the situation evolves.

The university is working with vendors and contractors to maintain these products and services and continue this cleaning schedule moving forward.

“In a matter of a couple of weeks, we have faced extraordinary challenges together and continue to do so,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said. “From the tornado that caused destruction to many neighborhoods in and around Nashville, to dealing with this global outbreak, it is truly an unprecedented time.

“I have been struck by the efforts and care that have been taken that are foundational to our ability to keep our campus running as the situation evolves,” he said.

FAQs about the coronavirus and the university’s response are being continually updated. Please visit our COVID-19 website for the latest information.

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