The college implements new procedures in an effort to create a safer learning environment for staff and students.
By Cassandra Nava, Editor-in-Chief
In order to adhere to updated sanitation standards, Valley College has bumped up their cleaning regimen along with an updated custodial schedule and staff.
To prevent unwanted exposure and potential cases of COVID-19, the LACCD guidelines state that all nine campuses must regularly disinfect indoor areas of campuses. Valley is preventing possible infections with its implementation of a second custodial shift and new cleaning procedures. The additional custodial shift ensures all classrooms and indoor areas are disinfected daily, with the “A” shift starting as early as 4 a.m. and the “B” shift starting at around 2:30 p.m.
The custodial staff sanitizes indoor spaces using electrostatic sprayers used to kill any harmful bacteria on high-contact areas. The equipment uses an electrically charged disinfectant that attaches itself to surfaces and “coats to hard nonporous surfaces,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Along with the upgraded disinfectants, there is also special care given to air quality and filters. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values has a rated system of filters, with MERV 13 being the standard filter at which tiny particles can be trapped and not spread with airflow. These filters have been reported to stop the spread of viruses, making them an effective method to a cleaner campus. According to William Karrat, director of maintenance and operations at Valley, the use of MERV 13 air filters is a crucial first step, but he stresses the importance of the increase of outside air into buildings. By increasing ventilation, viruses are less likely to linger in a classroom.
“In general it is just a cleaner campus,” said Karrat. “Increasing the outside air, aside from the filters, is probably the second best way to reduce the amount of infections.”
Expenses for pandemic-related cleaning supplies and emergency use protections such as plexiglass barriers came from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. With $6,154,624 given to Valley College, about half of those funds were used to cover the expenses of the increased custodial staff, disinfectants, plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizers throughout the campus.
Although these additional protocols were implemented following the pandemic, president Barry Gribbons states that these measures will continue to exist.
“Going forward we will continue to look at guidance provided by the CDC and LA County Public Health,” said Gribbons. “When the new vaccine mandate is fully in effect that will likely have an impact as well. Having 90 plus percent of our students and employees vaccinated will have a big impact on preventing the spread of COVID.”