Over the last five months, people around the world have learned reducing the spread of COVID-19 takes a combined effort from everyone. We have all become accustomed to wearing face masks, washing our hands, staying six feet apart, and paying extra attention to the cleanliness of our surroundings. The latter explains why Clorox wipes and other disinfectants are still a rare find on store shelves. As we return to campus, we will all have to apply this same approach to keeping our workspaces sanitary.
How can we do our part? This list includes some ideas for implementing effective cleaning practices.
- Hand hygiene is key to keeping surfaces clean. Wash your hands regularly — especially after touching your face, coughing, or sneezing — with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol when washing isn’t possible.
- Pick up your personal and departmental hygiene and cleaning kits. UNLV is centrally sourcing personal size bottles of hand sanitizer and face masks for all employees and cleaning kits for every department.
- Keep your workspace clutter-free. It’s much easier to clean a surface without papers, knick-knacks, and photo frames.
- What does cleaning “regularly” mean? The general rule of thumb is to clean whenever you see fingerprints or at least once a week. RIght now, it’s a good idea to implement a daily cleaning routine.
- Wipe down anything that touches your face or hands daily — including your telephone, keyboard, and mouse. Make it a habit to clean these items before you leave work each day.
- Avoid spraying disinfectant directly on electronic equipment. Instead spray the disinfectant on a paper towel or use a sanitizing wipe. Faculty: remember not to use any disinfectants or disinfectant wipes on Creston units.
While many of us have been working remotely, some facilities team members have been preparing buildings and grounds for our return.
“We’ve been operating with a reduced staff, so keeping buildings in good repair has been a collaborative effort,” said Custodial Supervisor Raymond Figueredo. “We’re going to have to scale back our services in office spaces in order to devote more time to the classrooms ,and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation throughout the duration of this crisis.”
In addition to performing their regular cleaning and maintenance, custodians have been assisting other facilities teams, such as the plumbing shop, by flushing toilets and running showers to prevent contaminants from accumulating in standing water in little-used buildings.
Monitoring the latest CDC and industry guidance as it relates to COVID-19 has been a large part of this preparation.
“Every disinfectant product we use was evaluated against EPA List 'N' for effectiveness against COVID-19” said Doug McLean, assistant director for custodial services. “Some products made the cut, others were discontinued, and new products were added. The goal was to provide the most effective disinfectants with the shortest contact time that also didn’t require the use of scarce personal protective equipment resources.”
They are also in the process of procuring electrostatic sprayers for faster disinfection in large areas, such as classrooms, theaters, and auditoriums.
The HVAC team has kept all systems running since March and installed high-level MERV-13 filters in air handling systems throughout campus. These hospital-grade filters have the ability to capture smaller particles, thus removing more contaminants from the air.
When you return to campus, expect to see 500 newly installed hand sanitizer dispensers at building entrances, elevator landings, hallways outside classrooms, and customer service reception areas. These units are great for sanitizing hands on the go, especially for faculty and students to use before and after class. Faculty teaching in-person classes this fall also will have disinfectant wipes to clean their teaching stations.
You may also notice that some buildings have gotten a bit of a face-lift. Facilities teams have had the chance to tackle some projects that are hard to complete during regular operations such as replacing and deep cleaning carpets and resurfacing floors.
“Surface contamination is not thought to be the primary source of virus transmission, so keeping surfaces clean is only one way to stop the spread,” Figueredo said. “Wearing your mask, washing your hands, and remaining at least six feet apart will be the most effective means of keeping the campus community safe.”