Fresno State buys new sanitizing equipment for return to in-person classes

Custodial staff are provided one-on-one training to handle specialized equipment and will sanitize frequently used areas on campus. (Vendila Yang/The Collegian)

New sanitation technologies, required face coverings and social distancing procedures are in place for the 320 in-person classes that began on Feb. 8. 

Tinnah Medina, associate vice president for facilities, said that the department is unable to increase the number of custodial staff due to limitations “both at a system level as well as a budgetary.”

Fresno State spent $685,000 from March through December 2020 for expenses related to sanitizing, cleaning supplies and services due to COVID-19, said Lisa Boyles, Fresno State public information officer.

Electrostatic sprayers were purchased as sanitizing equipment for custodial staff.

“There’s a static charge added to the droplets so that they will adhere to the surfaces … by misting in an area, they could really clean [and] disinfect very quickly and very effectively. So I think that’s been one of the best things that they’ve invested in,” said Lisa Kao, director of environmental health and safety and campus risk manager.

Kao said these electrostatic wands will provide custodial staff the ability to disinfect larger areas effectively and efficiently.

Medina noted that many of the required cleaning procedures are demanding of custodial staff and the equipment the department purchased reduces the concern for employees.

The department obtained other equipment including what Medina called “decontamination units,” which are robotic units that disinfect large rooms without requiring people to physically disinfect the area.

“We’ve got 2 of these [decontamination] units … it’s essentially a robot and you wheel it into a room, you hit a button … and so it doesn’t require people to actually be in the room,” Medina said.

One-on-one training for staff handling specialized equipment is being provided from the equipment distributors and custodial staff is trained face-to-face.

Kao also said the campus continues to implement health and safety strategies to help control the spread of COVID-19.

“[We are] developing some of the resources that are designed to inform and/or provide tools so that we could track cases and stop infection spread, so that’s what we’ve been involved in most. And then, you know, there’s a lot of collaboration going on across the campus,” Kao said.

The Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHS/RM) is working closely alongside custodial services and facilities to determine which areas of campus require increased cleaning and are continuing to develop methods of communication as the need arises.

Kao said other resources such as in-house surveys for department safety coordinators, daily health screenings and required COVID-19 safety training are being provided to those returning to campus.

Correction: Feb. 18, 2021
An earlier version of this article stated that Kao also said further development is being made to track the spread of COVID-19. In actuality, it was: Kao also said the campus continues to implement health and safety strategies to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Previous Story Lacrosse players detail inequity in lawsuit documents article thumbnail mt-3

Lacrosse players detail inequity in lawsuit documents

Next Story History in real time: special collections team's effort to document COVID-19 article thumbnail mt-3

History in real time: special collections team's effort to document COVID-19