Concordia College has suspended in-person classes for the rest of the semester following the global COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, March 13, President William Craft announced the decision that courses will be moved online. As of March 25, classes will remain online for the rest of the semester and any students still on campus are required to leave.
The college anticipated drastic measures after schools like the University of Minnesota and later, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, decided to let students go. However, before President Craft’s announcement was made, Concordia had already begun taking preventative action against the virus.
Dallas Fossum, Concordia’s director of facilities, says the facilities department has discussed the proper cleaning precautions on campus.
“We’ve ramped up our disinfecting on campus and have started deferring lower value cleaning tasks to increase the cleaning of higher-traffic areas,” Fossum says.
While he’s sure that meetings about the issue on campus will continue, he stresses the importance of students and faculty members taking matters into their own hands – by washing them.
“For a campus of this size, with this amount of people, it really boils down to the individuals taking the precautions like washing hands and using hand sanitizer,” he says.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the virus might remain viable for days on all kinds of surfaces and materials. It also says cleaning and disinfecting is the best way to combat the spread of this viral respiratory illness in a community setting.
Shaine Wanner, a building services custodian, says that doorknobs and railings are being paid special attention to, and he’s had to cut back on duties such as vacuuming. All restrooms are also considered high priority areas to be sanitized.
Wanner also says that as of the afternoon of March 13 he hasn’t heard anything about being released from his duties on campus over the cautionary interim.
“As far as I know, I’m still working here over this break,” says Wanner.
The facilities workers haven’t stopped there when taking the steps to tend to a hyper-alert campus.
Jack Spilles, a sophomore at Concordia, has noticed the plethora of posters on walls urging students to be proactive and practicing cleanliness. Minnesota Department of Health posters have been hung in all restrooms with basic instruction as a nudge toward demonstrating courteous hygiene.
“It’s good to see the college is taking these steps,” Spilles says. “Some people need reminders to be courteous and wash their hands and it helps me stay grounded at a time like this because I know I’m doing what I can.”
The CDC website gives a list of key times to wash your hands other than after coughing, sneezing and using the bathroom, such as preparing and eating food, tending to a sick person, changing diapers, handling an animal and touching garbage.
For more information about cleaning and disinfecting household surfaces and laundry, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html.