The sources within this article have asked to remain anonymous to maintain their job security. They have agreed to comment in the interest of university and public health.
University custodial staff members said the increased regulations to keep the campus clean will not be enough to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and that students need to take extra precautions.
“It’d be risky to assume that custodial is doing everything they should be,” said a member of the university janitorial staff.
The University has limited campus access to students and faculty alike, leaving physical facilities open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays.
With less traffic on campus, custodial duties are shifting from cleaning whiteboards, gathering trash and vacuuming to disinfecting classrooms and hallways.
“They’ve been vague though on what that will entail, if it’s anything different than what we’ve been doing which is doorknobs and light switches,” said a member of the university janitorial staff, “that doesn’t do too much good though without doing armrests and desks too but until now we haven’t had enough time.”
Custodial members said they have been understaffed since the beginning of the year and their numbers have only decreased since the pandemic.
“From what I understand, my job is basically optional now. anyone who’d feel safer staying home can stay home.” confirmed a member of the university janitorial staff.
According to custodial, this change from the university has been a welcome one that has also allowed an increase in flexibility to staff members that didn’t previously exist, but that has come at a cost to those who remain.
“We just haven’t had the staff to properly disinfect things other than doorknobs,” said a member of the university janitorial staff.
Another major obstacle to keeping the university clean is how staff members perform their job. According to one janitor, this is driven by the general attitude several workers lend to their work.
“Lots of us don’t treat this job like it matters and many of my coworkers don’t even do the basic work they’re supposed to,” said a member of the university janitorial staff. “This isn’t all of our attitude, but the number of people who choose to do their job well definitely doesn’t outweigh the number of those who don’t.”
This statement was confirmed by another member of janitorial staff, who also pointed to the amount custodial is paid as a key factor in the effort put forth. According to recent job listings, janitorial positions at UVU typically range from $9 to $11.25 an hour.
“The work we do is important, even if it isn’t the most exciting thing, it’d be nice to be paid like it too,” said a university custodian.
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, students are encouraged to wash their hands regularly, limit all non-essential university travel, practice social distancing and to self-quarantine, when they are experiencing symptoms.
To learn more about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit here.