COVID-19 response weekly update: Cleaning and disinfecting procedures

 COVID-19 response update: Cleaning and disinfecting procedures

Monday, June 22, 2020 11:40 a.m.

Dear colleagues,

In last week’s update, I wrote about modifications we are making to our buildings to reduce the possibility of transmitting COVID-19. This week, I want to discuss cleaning and disinfection procedures that will be in place before the fall semester begins.

We’re grateful for the work done by about 170 custodial staff members taking care of almost 90 buildings on campus. They have been trained to follow the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s guidance for cleaning and disinfection and to keep themselves safe while doing their jobs. They are using the EPA’s approved Disinfectants for Use Against SAR-CoV-2 (COVID-19) for cleaning.

One key decision we have made is to deploy our custodians to work on tasks – and in areas – that have the highest impact on preventing disease transmission. So we must modify some routine maintenance tasks. Generally, our custodians will focus on cleaning public spaces and ask members of our community to help with spaces that are mainly private.

Specifically, here’s what the university is doing:

  • Placing hand sanitizing stations at all designated entrances to buildings.
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, toilets and sinks with much greater intensity.
  • Increasing cleaning of commonly used spaces.
  • Deploying sanitizing wipes in all office suites, classrooms, labs and common spaces.
  • Fogging to sanitize all bathrooms and shuttle buses every night.
  • Removing trash and recycling from public areas.
  • Following the strict hygiene protocols already in place for food preparation and delivery, as well as in athletics facilities.

All of us must work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, so we are asking everyone to help make our community safer by doing the following:

  • Be diligent in practicing physical distancing by wearing university supplied masks or other face coverings, staying at home when you’re ill, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • If you’re a student living in a residential college, use cleaning supplies furnished by the university to clean your room.
  • If you’re faculty and or a student, use the disinfectant wipes provided in each classroom to wipe down surfaces before the start of class. While we will be cleaning classrooms more often, we can’t sanitize every classroom between every class.
  • Everybody working in a private office or suite will bring their recycling and trash to a common place on each floor of each building, where it will be removed daily by our custodial staff.

We’re doing this because it not only makes our campus safer for all of us, but also specifically helps protect our frontline custodians, who are working hard to take care of our university. All of these actions are very similar to those taken by most of our peer institutions, and we know they will make Rice a much safer place to learn and work in the fall semester.

Kevin Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee
Vice President for Administration