Unsung Heroes: Housekeeping Staff

Grace Bromage ’23

Chief Features Editor

There is a routine that comes with living on campus at Holy Cross. Students can expect to see housekeeping dusting and vacuuming the hallways and common rooms and to have their trash taken out once a week. Students can expect to say hello and interact with staff members around and in the residence halls. This routine, like many others, has changed with the existence of Covid-19.

Brian Griffin, the director of environmental services and facilities at Holy Cross, spoke with me about the how the housekeeping staff has adapted to Covid-19. Regarding new protocols they’ve adopted, Griffin said that “we follow all local, state, federal, and CDC guidelines. Some of the new practices we’ve adopted is using our fogging machines more in order to disinfect large areas more quickly. We’ve also become more disinfecting and sanitizing oriented, while not emphasizing everyday tasks like vacuuming and dusting as much.” While students are now left to take care of their own rooms, the housekeeping staff has been working to make sure that all spaces are as clean as possible to prevent the spread of Covod-19.

Griffin did say that one of the hardest changes on campus has been the change in the relationship between the staff and students. He said, “residence hall staff have a unique relationship with their students, and now with social distancing and mask wearing, that dynamic has definitely changed. It’s not gone away, it’s just a different dynamic.”

Graphic by Valentina Moran ‘23. Photo of Clark Hall courtesy of HKTarchitects, Inc.

Griffin mentioned that everything housekeeping and other departments on campus have done is ultimately for the safety of the students. Griffin concluded saying that, “We tried to come up with solutions that will keep the campus healthy and safe for the entire campus community. And, that we can’t wait to see everyone back on campus as soon as is safely possible!”

Following up on all of this, I talked to Matt Anderson ’21, who is currently living on campus and was able to tell me what it was like living in the residence halls at this time. He agreed with what Griffin said about there being a new dynamic, but that he feels that the housekeeping staff has done a good job implementing sanitizing practices and making campus a safe and welcoming environment despite the lack of students. He said, “the cleaning staff have been super helpful making sure that work orders get put in and done safely and ASAP. Ultimately I feel safe in the common spaces in my hall and around campus (the tables outside of kimball or the library, etc) since I see everything constantly being sanitized and everyone actually following mask protocol and social distancing.”

While the procedures the housekeeping staff has put into practice at the end of last semester and this semester may look different from what most of us had grown accustomed to, the housekeeping staff has continued to work to make campus a safe and happy environment for all students. While some of us may take for granted the work they put in, we must remember to thank our unsung heroes, the housekeeping staff, especially now.

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