Empty Brown hall (copy)

An empty classroom in Brown Hall.

Facilities Management is implementing different cleaning and disinfecting procedures around WMU’s campus to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Facilities Management reviewed CDC, State of Michigan, and industry best practices to sanitize surfaces during this pandemic,” said Peter Strazdas, Associate Vice President at Facilities Management. “We implemented a full spectrum approach that is considered state-of-the-art in the cleaning and disinfecting industry.”

WMU will be using an antimicrobial product on all touch points and horizontal surfaces, Strazdas said. Also, throughout the day they will be deploying an aqueous ozone mist in bathrooms, public spaces, and classrooms before all classes when there is a gap of time. 

Strazdas explained that the antimicrobial is long lasting and bonds to a surface using electrostatic application equipment.

“It is FDA and EPA registered and was published twice in the American Journal of Infection Control,” Strazdas said. “One study was done in a hospital operating room and the other study in a hospital intensive care unit. Bacteria that comes on contact with this shield is destroyed. Accelerated age studies have shown it lasts up to 12 years after frequent cleaning.”

He also explained that aqueous ozone is a powerful oxidizer that destroys a host of germs, bacteria and contaminants on surfaces. 

“It has been tested against a surrogate of Sars-COV-2 virus and was found to be effective in eliminating 99.99% with as little as one-minute dwell time,” Strazdas said. “It is applied with an electronic misting device and works without any hazardous odors or chemical residues.”

Sanitizing wipes and dispensers have also been placed where there are back-to-back classes in the same classroom. This is for individuals to use and sanitize their chair and desk area. Over 400 hand sanitizer stations have also been placed in building public spaces.

The buildings water supply system was also flushed and the amount of outside air coming through the air supply system was doubled. Thousands of information signs have been installed inside buildings, Strazdas said.

“Using an antimicrobial that has been successfully used in hospital settings raises the bar to the highest level in educational facility cleaning,” Strazdas said when asked if these options were best to keep the community safe. “Additional frequent cleaning with the aqueous ozone approach adds another layer of protection. Doubling outside fresh air inside a building and flushing the potable water system helps keep the air and water safe.”

Strazdas said that custodial staff have stated that they sanitize spaces to keep themselves safe as well. 

“They feel safe from what they are doing to sanitize spaces, so faculty and students should also feel safe,” Strazdas said.

If someone tests positive on campus at WMU, there is a protocol between Sindecuse Health Center and Facilities in place, Strazdas said.

“We receive an immediate communication about any spaces that were occupied by a person testing positive,” Strazdas said. “Our Custodial team is trained and equipped with PPE and product to disinfect the spaces. They use electrostatic disinfecting equipment, Clorox 360, to handle this process.”

Strazdas said that it is asked that the WMU community follows the three W’s on campus: Wear a mask; Wash your hands; Watch your distance. 

“Our facilities employees are passionate about their stewardship responsibilities to keep the buildings and grounds safe,” Strazdas said. “We have researched and deployed the best sanitizing systems around. If our employees feel confident and safe, then others on campus should feel the same.”

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