While the vast majority of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) staff are working from home, dedicated crews from Facilities Services have continued to perform their vital services to keep the campus clean and safe. Their hard work has enabled other essential campus offices to stay up and running.
Under normal circumstances, Facilities has over 110 people on campus, doing everything from fixing locks to landscaping. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, on-campus staff has been cut down to essential positions, according to Jonathan Scheffler, director of Facilities Services.
“We’ve got most of our staff on rotating schedules,” says Scheffler. “At any one time, we now have about 30 people working on campus performing essential services, between our grounds, custodial, logistics, and office staff.”
During the crisis, keeping the campus clean and safe has been the department’s number one priority. “The custodial staff right now is cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting specific areas on campus where people are still working, including restrooms and office areas,” says Scheffler. “The majority of employees working on campus right now are in Welch Hall, so that’s where most of our efforts are concentrated.”
Meanwhile, the grounds staff has been hard at work keeping nature in check throughout the spring. “We’re keeping the lawns mowed, the weeds down, trimming the trees and shrubs, and keeping storm debris from piling up on campus,” says Scheffler.
Responsible social distancing practices are being followed by all facilities workers, and the department has issued personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks to its employees. They have also helped out the remaining on-campus University Housing staff, giving them masks and cleaning supplies as needed.
Due to the department’s foresight, they haven’t had any issues with supplies. “We ordered some supplies like hand cleaner and disinfectant wipes early on,” says Scheffler, “When this first started happening, logistical services supervisor Dino Hernandez suggested we should prepare ourselves. I quadrupled our normal stock of those items, just as a precaution.”
Scheffler points out that communication between departments has been vital throughout the crisis. “Communication on campus is very important, and we’ve been doing a really good job with it. Our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff and Academic Affairs let us know when faculty or staff need to come on campus, so we can be there to unlock doors and help people get into their offices and grab what they need.”
Ultimately, being adaptable and responsive to the crisis as it develops has been the key to Facilities Services’ success. “Every day is a new challenge of some sort, because what we’re being told to do by the state, county and our local city of Carson is practically changing daily,” says Scheffler. “We just try to be flexible. We’re here to serve.”