Custodial Heroes Keep UVU Safe During Pandemic


More than 250 masked, gloved, uniformed heroes can be found daily on UVU’s Orem Campus vigilantly vacuuming, wiping, and scrubbing inside University buildings with one goal in mind — kill the coronavirus that could be hiding in plain sight.

It is all about health and safety, and these employees have chosen to work to keep UVU employees safe. The Orem Campus is nearly entirely closed in accordance with Governor Gary Herbert’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive, but there is a limited number of essential services employees need access to, such as equipment and software in their offices, to do their jobs.

Jerran Fisher, a UVU sophomore and custodian, said from a cleaning standpoint, the mostly closed campus makes cleaning easier. “For me, it’s been pretty nice to have campus shut down,” he said. “My standard cleaning goes by really fast now, and my floors are immaculate compared to what they were before.”

A new sense of purpose and motivation emanates from the cleaning staff. They are very aware that their work is vital in keeping the university open, enabling students and faculty to succeed.

Classrooms have been deep cleaned, disinfected, and locked down with signs stating the rooms are closed. All frequently touched surfaces including tables and countertops, handrails, door handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks are disinfected daily, while elevator buttons, restroom door handles, light switches, and touchpoints on exterior exits are disinfected twice daily. These measures are in addition to the custodial staff’s regular duties and obligations.

“Many of our employees said they feel like they’re making a difference,” said Ashley Davis, associate director of Student Services. “A lot of them feel it is an honor to come in and provide a safer place for our students and employees.”

Safety is priority No. 1 in this environment. Custodians are assigned to clean and disinfect areas and surfaces most likely to have traces of the coronavirus. All protective clothing, cleaning methods, disinfectants, and training follow CDC prevention procedures to protect the custodians.

“The safety of our staff has always been our top priority with the safety of students, staff, faculty, and any community members on campus as a close second,” said Curtis Hall, manager of Custodial Services. “We offer training on how to properly use PPE (personal protective equipment), as well as how to safely and effectively disinfect the areas being cleaned.”

Employees are continually encouraged to practice social distancing amidst their work and to follow proper guidelines given by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Moving forward we will continue with the heightened levels of disinfecting, as well as doing extra deep cleaning,” said Hall. “I have every confidence that UVU is one of the safest places to be during this pandemic.”