By CHILES SPENCER
The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has made changes in daily routines necessary for everyone at Amarillo College, something that is immediately clear the second students step on campus and see masks covering half of everyone’s face.
While these changes have significantly affected everyone’s lives, the custodial staff’s routines have arguably changed the most. According to Jim Baca, the AC physical plant manager, while the staff usually performs general upkeep such as cleaning clutter from the halls, they now also work to frequently sanitize classrooms and common areas with sprays and wipes throughout the day.
During every night shift, the staff is performing deep cleaning and sanitization all throughout the campus.
Alongside what is currently being done, custodial staff has plans to make the campus even safer and cleaner. Air filters are being upgraded to hospital grade filters with a MERV 14 rating. The higher the MERV rating on a filter, the fewer contaminants that can pass through it. Ultraviolet lighting also is being added to the HVAC system that will help eliminate bacteria and viruses, and there are chemical mist guns on back order that will help to more effectively sanitize and disinfect common areas, Baca said.
Baca said there are no worries regarding shortages for now. There are enough disinfecting chemicals and paper supplies available for the school’s use and, while there is a shortage of disinfecting wipes in stores currently, there was a substantial amount ordered months ago that should last for now.
Faculty members are also fighting COVID-19. “In my opinion, faculty are doing what they can to ensure sanitized learning spaces,” Courtney Milleson, a speech professor, said. “I used all of the school-issued cleaning supplies within a couple of days and I’m waiting for supplies to be replenished. So, it may mean faculty members bringing their own cleaning supplies for a while, but we’re all doing what we can to ensure a safe learning environment,” she said.
Despite the extra work, Baca said he is happy to help out and do what needs to be done to handle the current situation. “We’re just trying to do our part to keep our students, faculty and ourselves clean and safe.”