By Gabriela Mendez
As The University of Tampa returned to in-person classes for the Fall semester, a COVID-19 Health Safety Task Force was implemented. The task force is responsible for the necessary sanitation on campus in order to ensure UT faculty, staff and students remain healthy and safe following the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) suggestions.
As of Friday, Oct. 2, over 300 UT students and 3 faculty members have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the Fall semester, according to UT’s COVID-19 database. Some are questioning the cleaning process around campus and within classrooms.
On Thursday, May 7, President Ronald Vaughn established a health task force called Spartan Shield which determines how UT handles the mitigation of COVID-19 on-campus to maintain a safe, in-person learning environment with COVID-19.
One of the major aspects that the task force handles is the sanitization of classrooms. Seeing as, UT has around 9,700 students that occupy its classrooms 18 hours each day.
“Facilities Management environmental services staff members will ensure that classrooms are sanitized at the start of each class day, and they will conduct regular rounds through facilities,” according to UT’s Spartan Shield Health Safety Plan.
Each classroom is fogged and sanitized in high-touch areas and wiped with sanitizer four to eight times per day. Classrooms are fogged nightly and early in the morning. UT has also arranged desks so students are socially distanced with CDC guidelines, as well as implementing a mask requirement.
Although there has been a change in the level of extra steps that UT has taken in sanitizing classrooms, UT had already implemented the fogging step of cleaning classrooms last semester.
Yet, students such Kimberly Giangrasso, junior political science major, find no difference in how sanitized UT’s classrooms are in comparison to previous semesters and don’t see that the classrooms are as sanitized.
Others find that UT has been doing enough in sanitizing classrooms and keeping students and faculty safe during these times with COVID-19.
“I think UT has done enough in maintaining the classrooms sanitized,” said Natalia Cruz, English and theater double major. “While I do see there is room for improvement, I do find that the desks and overall classroom is sanitized to an extent when I come in for class.”
UT has also enforced rules between faculty while following the Spartan Shield guidelines when giving classes. The university has also enforced rules upon students, such as limiting the number of individuals at gatherings on campus.
Some students find that professors have followed all policies and are taking the situation seriously but think students are lacking in that department.
“Teachers have definitely been taking and following COVID policies seriously. I haven’t seen a professor not wearing a mask,” said Giangrasso. “We as students however could do better at wearing masks in places like resident halls and not hang out in large groups of people.”
As of right now, Jennifer Isenbeck, director of Facilities, said that there are no future policies or plans to be updated in Spartan Shield but are always monitoring updated COVID recommendations.