Killing the Coronavirus

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the role of UNC’s Facilities staff became more crucial than ever.

In January, Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety started noticing information about an illness spreading on the other side of the globe.

“By March, we were sensing that it was near,” says Steven Abbath, manager of Custodial Services.

Abbath and his colleagues started checking personal protective equipment and disinfectant stock levels, tracking the supply chain and reviewing their typical processes. They always step up disinfection during cold and flu season, and a few times per year as needed to respond to Student Health Center requests for more aggressive cleaning due to a more contagious illness that could show up on campus, so they applied those tactics once again, tailored for what was known about the novel coronavirus.

As UNC started sending students, faculty and staff home for remote learning and work, the Facilities staff continued cleaning and monitoring buildings. Over the summer, crews moved furniture to encourage proper social distancing in classrooms and public spaces. They deep cleaned in preparation for fall. And since students and others arrived back on campus, they have continued doing their part to protect the Bear community.

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