News in Brief: UCR instates new COVID-19 cleaning crew

Rodrigo Medina with Facilities Services tries out an electrostatic sprayer as custodial and housekeeping teams participate in a training exercise on how to properly wear PPE and operate an electrostatic sprayer on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at UC Riverside. The team recently purchased new electrostatic sprayers to combat COVID-19.
(UCR/Stan Lim)

UCR’s Environmental and Resource Services for Facilities Services has organized a new cleaning task force dedicated to cleansing and sanitizing areas of the university campus that may have been contaminated through contact with COVID-19. This newly implemented 15-member team is comprised of existing housekeeping and janitorial staff who volunteered themselves to help out.

According to Hassan Ghamlouch, the director of Environmental and Resource Services for Facilities Services, though the custodial staff had been trained in altering some of their regular duties in order to accommodate the virus, the university had still been outsourcing cleaning services in order to take care of the spaces that were thought to have been seriously contaminated. Forming this group with on-campus employees reportedly allows for more prompt responses to decontamination requests, as well as a significant amount of financial savings since they are no longer paying contractors.

Ghamlouch added that his department has partnered with the on-campus Environmental Health and Safety Department in order to organize in-depth training sessions for the volunteers that abide by all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Institutions of Higher Education guidelines. These sessions focus on every aspect of proper sanitization and protective gear application, like “the donning and doffing and the use of PPE’s” that were specifically purchased for this new task force. 

In addition to attending to these extra duties, the volunteers will be continuing with their regular day to day tasks. “We are very proud of our staff who continue to provide this essential service to our campus during the pandemic … and look forward to a brighter day when the campus reopens and welcomes back our students, faculty and supporting staff,” Ghamlouch concluded.

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