IUS sanitizes campus in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Employees across the IUS campus are contributing to the sanitization efforts


Bryce Shreve

Photo by Bryce Shreve.

Alex Baker, Staff Reporter

While IUS students were on spring break, IU Southeast conducted cleaning procedures across campus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanitization of frequently touched surfaces has been ongoing at IUS for several weeks ever since reports of COVID-19 began.

“Safety is our highest concern and we wanted to be proactive and precautious,” said Robert Poff, the executive director of facility operations at IUS.

After face-to-face classes were suspended, Facility Operations employees went into every classroom and lab to disinfect and do a deep clean. They then shut and locked the doors to most rooms.

Poff said it was university protocol to conduct the sanitization process.

“Our staff has shown tremendous dedication and commitment to keep the campus clean and disinfected to the best of their ability,” he said.

The teams used EPA-approved chemicals and followed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also used personal protection as recommended by the CDC, such as disposable gloves and certain recommended chemicals.

In addition, many other employees at IUS have contributed to the sanitization efforts by cleaning their own spaces on campus, such as offices and classrooms.

It is currently unclear how long SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic, can survive on surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, it varies between a couple of hours or a few days, with variables such as temperature and type of surface, similar to other coronaviruses.

The WHO recommends cleaning surfaces thought to be contaminated by the virus with simple disinfectant, along with the use of common hygiene measures like hand washing.

Despite the cleaning process, students are being encouraged to avoid coming to campus.

In an email sent to all IUS students on March 27, chancellor Ray Wallace stated that “no students, faculty, or staff should come to the IU Southeast campus unless absolutely necessary.”

He also said that “we all must disrupt our usual patterns and preferences, and disrupt them profoundly, since we are now well beyond the convenience stage.”

These warnings, along with the school sanitization, come as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to grow rapidly across the United States and the world. 

On March 15, IU President Michael McRobbie declared that all classes across all IU campuses would be virtual for the remainder of the spring semester.

Both Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear have directed all citizens to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Poff stressed the need for students to be vigilant and cautious during the outbreak but added that the virus is an enemy that can be beaten with enough effort and cooperation.

“Please take this situation seriously and follow all of the guidelines that have been provided,” he said. “We will persevere.”