Since COVID-19 broke out early this year, safety and sanitation have been more significant than ever before. Thankfully, essential workers have come together to help those in need and keep the public safe. Among those who have sacrificed their lives and dedicated their time to assist in this global crisis are janitors and cleaning staff.
When campus closed last Spring and everyone was packing up to leave, the campus custodial staff were among the few who stayed, and continue to stay, no matter the severity of the spread. While many of us were home and safe in quarantine, people like Tracy Jackson, were busy planning out the necessary procedures to ensure the campus was safe and clean before everyone returned in the Fall. Jackson, the Director of Custodial Services at SNU, was confident in the matter, “I had no doubt that we could all work together to disinfect and sanitize common spaces”.
In order to make this happen, some adjustments needed to be made to the team’s daily routine. Common touchpoints, such as doorknobs and handrails, became a top priority for Jackson and his staff. “Previously, we would vacuum the halls of dorms a few times a week, but we cut things like that down to once a week to make sure we hit all of the high touchpoints.” They have also put a focus on high traffic areas.
SNU’s custodial team clearly has a strong dedication to keeping the campus safe. At first, it was difficult to see where this commitment came from, but after asking staff members what their favorite part of their job was, it was clear to see. Tanis Lopez, who has been a part of the SNU custodial team for 28 years, answered my question with this: “My favorite part is working in the dorms and seeing the students.” Jackson also answered with, “I love having the students on campus. They bring so much energy and life. Their exuberance and optimism – it’s contagious.”
Their daily diligence goes beyond their paychecks. They do what they do because of us. They keep us safe, not because it is their job, but because they truly care. The custodial staff of SNU is vital to the community’s health and safety, especially at a time like this. It is comforting to know we are in the hands of such a committed and caring staff.