How GV has been sanitizing campus during COVID-19


Janitor keeping up with COVID-19 cleaning protocols in Kirkhof Center

Kellen Voss, Associate Editor

While most Grand Valley State University students have spent their time off taking classes, working summer jobs or eating s’mores, GVSU Facilities Services has been hard at work at an Enhanced Cleaning Program, continuing its thorough cleaning and sanitation procedures to provide a healthy campus environment for students, staff and faculty.

Most spaces where students and staff will frequent every day, like classrooms and conference rooms, will be sanitized daily. Disinfectant spray and hand towels will be available for use during the day as needed. 

For Facilities Services, in order to properly clean campus, there will be many more shifts during the day, instead of the traditional night shift, as Associate Vice President of Facility Services Tim Thimmesch said.

“In creating the enhanced cleaning program, we have shifted 80% of our custodial operations to be completed during the first and second shift, especially in Academic space where most of the cleaning was performed on third shift,” Thimmesch said. “The change to first shift will allow staff to be more readily available to handle issues or emergencies that come up during the day. This also allows an opportunity to clean touchpoints, restrooms and common spaces more frequently when there are more people in those spaces.”

Large communal areas, such as lunchrooms and break areas, will have a limited number of available seats to accommodate social distancing of at least 6 feet. Large bathrooms around these areas will be cleaned twice a day, as opposed to the lone overnight cleaning pre-pandemic.

People using those spaces will need to wipe down counters, microwaves, refrigerator handles, vending machines before and after use. Disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes will be available from Facilities Services for use in these areas.

For housing on campus, residents in living centers and on-campus apartments are advised to wipe down restroom areas, kitchen surfaces and frequently touched items (door handles, keyboards and sinks) using appropriate disinfectant wipes or sprays. Properly dispose of cleaning towels or rags.

Thimmesch and his team of over 150 staff members have been working hand-in-hand to keep the university as clean as possible for the fall semester.

“All facilities staff should be recognized for being essential and participating and accepting our new cleaning program,” Thimmesch said. “It takes a team to do what we have done and will continue to do to keep the campus clean and as safe as possible.”

While Thimmesch is confident in this Enhanced Cleaning Program keeping the campus squeaky clean, he is calling upon students, staff, and anyone who enters university buildings to do their part to keep a healthy environment throughout campus.

“Certainly this is a time for  ‘All Hands on Deck,’ it will take everyone on campus doing their part for this to be effective and successful,” Thimmesch said. “We have great people all across the University and a Facilities Services staff who understand their role in this process and the importance of what they are doing to keep everyone as safe and secure as possible. We have a plan and we will continue to work the plan daily.”