Campus cleaning plan focuses on disinfecting high-touch surfaces

University employee cleans a staircase on campus.

Krystyna Szydlowska, custodian, disinfects handrails in the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL) frequently as part of the university’s cleaning plan.

For more on McMaster’s ventilation systems, please read this Back to Mac update.

Safety is the top priority as McMaster’s Facility Services team prepares campus for the return of more students, staff and faculty members in the Fall of 2021.  

“As the Fall approaches, cleaning processes continue to be informed by the latest scientific research and public health guidelines, and as new evidence emerges our cleaning plan will evolve,” says Debbie Martin, assistant vice-president and chief facilities officer. “McMaster has a team of 150-plus trained custodians, who have continued to clean and disinfect occupied indoor spaces on campus safely throughout this pandemic, to industry standards and with a high attention to detail.” 

McMaster has a comprehensive cleaning plan in place for the Fall. As part of this plan, Custodial Services will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, like door handles and light switches, in high traffic areas with increased frequency. Classrooms and lecture halls will be cleaned nightly and then treated with electrostatic disinfectant spray. Public washrooms will be cleaned twice daily at a minimum. Every evening, common spaces like libraries and eateries will be cleaned. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be provided in classrooms and common spaces for personal use.   

“In the early days of the pandemic when there was uncertainty about COVID-19 transmission there was an aggressive approach to cleaning all surfaces, even groceries. Now, scientific evidence tells us that is very unlikely to get COVID-19 from surfaces; contact with an infected person is the usual source,” says Dr. Fiona Smaill, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at McMaster University. “Continuing to have a cleaning protocol that disinfects high-touch surfaces frequently is sensible, as is close attention to frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer.” 

McMaster’s custodians will continue to do a targeted cleaning of an area on campus when a positive case of COVID-19 is identified. This involves disinfecting high-touch surfaces, cleaning floors, removing garbage and using an electrostatic disinfecting spray in the areas on campus most recently occupied by the positive case. 

Cleaning is one of the safety measures the university is taking to prevent the transmission of infection, along with requiring masks indoors on campus, improvements to ventilation, and encouraging everyone to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

McMaster’s cleaning plan was developed by Facility Services in consultation with Environmental & Occupational Health Support Services (EOHSS) and Human Resources. 

Related Stories