Staying COVID Clean

By Krista Ritz

Luke Rhodes, a freshman telecommunications major, is a member of Pete’s Clean Team. Photo by Kelcey Norris/The Jambar

Youngstown State University’s custodial staff continues to clean and disinfect across campus. From residence halls to academic buildings, sanitation requirements have increased. This year, students are expected to keep their living spaces and classroom areas sanitized.

Erin Hungerman, university conduct officer and director of Residence Life, oversees students who live on campus and student conduct. Hungerman said she expected the large changes this year within residence halls.

Weller House is typically used for upper division students and was slated for family housing. This year, it was converted into a safe, private space for students with COVID-19.

“This year we don’t have anybody in [Weller House]. We are keeping the apartments offline for potential isolation spaces. If we have a student who eventually tests COVID-19 positive, they live on campus, and can’t go home for that isolation period, we can offer them somewhere to stay while they heal,” Hungerman said.

Normally, restrooms in residence halls were cleaned twice a day. Under new protocol, staff now cleans them four times a day while wearing masks and keeping their distance from students.

“If you go to one of the residence halls, you’ll see that we do our best to make sure our staff members are safe,” Hungerman said. “Staff members will be wearing masks, they’ll be asking and enforcing residents to make sure they’re wearing masks in common spaces.”

Allyson Greco, a freshman, is starting her first semester as a member of Pete’s Clean Team, a program tasked with providing additional cleaning services to all buildings on campus. Greco has noticed many students aren’t taking advantage of the cleaning products in their classrooms.

“I’ve been here for three weeks; I haven’t filled the disinfectors, I haven’t refilled any hand sanitizers [or] paper towels. A lot of kids aren’t really doing what they’re supposed to do but I think YSU is giving opportunities to do such things if they choose to do them,” Greco said.

Greco encourages students to wipe down their desks and stay distanced from others to prevent spread of illness.

“Make sure you’re social distancing the best you can, wearing a mask, being proactive and realizing that this is bigger than myself and I should keep everybody else safe as well,” she said.

Catherine Suggett, a two-year janitorial staff member in Meshel Hall, also noticed a strict change in protocol following the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We have to keep everything clean; we have to sterilize everything. We have to get all the touch points, including the restrooms, [and] keep the doorknobs clean,” she said.

Suggett recommends using the hand sanitizer located near classrooms and elevators. She says she feels it is very important for the health and safety of everyone on campus to use the supplies.