Through a grant from the United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Wabash Valley Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) has purchased two electrostatic sanitizing sprayers which will boost cleaning protocols and better protect the campus community.
The sprayers, which cost approximately $5,000, will be used to efficiently and effectively sanitize every building, public area and touchpoint. A fine mist of electrically charged molecules that reject each other attach to nonporous surfaces, providing better surface coverage than other methods. This will thoroughly disinfect large areas, which will help maintain a safe in-person educational environment.
“Adding the sanitizing sprayers will be an extra layer of assurance to our protocols, keeping our students and employees healthy,” said Janet Clark, Ph.D., vice president for academic and student affairs. “The equipment will also add some efficiency and ease for our hardworking staff.”
Student athletes and the coaching staff will also benefit from this new equipment. SMWC’s bus, vans and other vehicles shared by the athletic teams can be disinfected. Weight rooms, bleachers and other high trafficked and high-touch areas can be quickly sanitized.
Joshua Wood, director of facilities, said the College is blessed to be awarded the grant. He said the facilities department will be looking to add more of the sprayers in the future as he makes plans to begin implementation of the new protocols in classrooms and the Jeanne Knoerle Center.
“This is such a wonderful tool for a department like ours to ensure our students, faculty and staff have a safe and disinfected area in which to learn and work,” Wood said.
The College’s fall enrollment is the highest since the 1960s with 505 students on campus – meaning classrooms and residence rooms are near capacity. To accommodate physical distancing, several large rooms in each building were converted and repurposed into classrooms.
With more than 600,000 square feet of building space and a small housekeeping staff, SMWC employees are helping to maintain their own offices so housekeeping staff may focus on heightened cleaning protocols for instructional and common spaces.
While these devices will not replace hand sanitizing, they will help maintain student and employee health, ensure safety and help to reduce stress brought on by the pandemic. “We are grateful to the Community Foundation and the United Way for providing the resources to help us continue to provide in-person instruction. Just this week, one of our students was encouraging other students on social media to continue to wear their masks and keep the campus safe so that our community might continue to have on campus classes,” said Clark. “I’m very proud of our students and our entire community for coming together to keep each other safe. This grant will further strengthen our commitment to being a safe place.”