Custodial crew continues to clean campus


Krys Shahin

Custodian Reynaldo Flores wipes down all door handles and surfaces everyday on campus. Photo taken March, 17.

Selena Buitrago, Staff Writer

While both students and staff are no temporarily not allowed at the Los Medanos College campus, it brings the question of how the physical campus upkeep will be maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak and the California shelter-in-place order. 

After staff and students were notified of the campus closure March 16, the custodial staff worked hard to disinfect every touchpoint and surface to ensure safety, along with locking unused rooms. Due to current affairs, the custodial staff has been paying close attention to the campus during the shut down.

“We are cleaning all areas that are scheduled for usage. After last week’s deep cleaning my staff and I placed tape on doorways indicating they have been thoroughly disinfected. We check every room on campus to see if the tape has been torn or removed. When there are signs of occupancy we redo our deep disinfecting,” wrote Custodial Manager Frank Ichigaya in an email.

During the campus closure, the custodial team will continue to clean campus while staying a minimum distance of six feet apart from each other. Since the closure, there has also been a mitigation of those custodians on duty. This means the staff will not be bunched up in any specific areas, cleaning alongside one another during this pandemic. 

Our custodial staff is running a minimal crew, just enough to take care of the people and spaces that are still in use,” wrote Director of Maintenance and Operations Russ Holt in an email.

Focusing on the safety of the students and staff, and all who might visit the campus when it reopens, the custodial staff has been working as hard as possible to ensure everything is cleaned and sanitized.

“We are spending more time with deep cleaning and less time with the normal day-to-day cleaning that we are used to,” wrote Ichigaya.

Along with the campus, the lake is also still being taken care of and cleaned when needed, and it seems that the water quality has been faring quite well.

“This whole episode has had no impact on the lake. We have a company providing services to our lake all the time and they continue to do so. The water quality in the lake has increased significantly over the last four to five months,” wrote Holt.

The effect of having fewer people out and active in most places on campus, is that water and air quality have become cleaner since the shelter-in-place was ordered. 

According to an NBC news article, “Coronavirus shutdowns have unintended climate benefits: cleaner air, clearer water.” 

The NBC article also said, “In Venice, the often murky canals recently began to get clearer, with fish visible in the water below… lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus have experienced an unintended benefit. The outbreak has, at least in part, contributed to a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in some countries.”

With all this in mind, the custodial staff at LMC have been doing their best to ensure that the campus stays clean and have been watching over the nature around the campus. They are prepared for when the campus opens again.

Ichigaya is confident in his team and they are appreciated for all the work they are doing during this time. 

“I am surrounded by a group of truly fantastic individuals that work hard nightly to provide the support we can to our students, faculty and staff,” he said.