ABM, one of the custodial contractors at OSU since 2008, is no stranger to keeping the campus's classrooms, labs and offices clean. When the response to the COVID-19 pandemic occurred on campus, ABM was on campus the entire time, working to keep the environment safer and healthier for the OSU community, by increasing cleaning frequency and thoroughness. ABM, along with Facilities Services, has adopted a deep cleaning process that focused on disinfecting over surface cleaning, designed to help prevent the spread of the COVID pathogen on surfaces.

Dan Demeny, an ABM custodian, disinfects elevator railings in Richardson Hall. Railings, along with elevator buttons and door handles, are high touchpoint areas that receive extra attention from custodial staff. Photo by Abbie Leland.

Now, ABM has moved towards getting the campus ready for higher-density occupation, as faculty and staff who have been working remotely prepare to return for fall term. Starting the third week of July, ABM will begin a summer deep cleaning program, designed to get spaces ready for returning staff and faculty and primarily in-person teaching.


"Some spaces haven't been occupied for at least 16 months, and aside from regular dust, may even have minor wildfire ash from last year's fires," explained Robert Ray, project manager from ABM for OSU. "The building-by-building deep clean program will provide an opportunity for ABM staff to inspect spaces, as well as clean."

Priority for the deep clean program will be classrooms and study rooms, followed by restrooms, shower rooms, locker rooms and lactation rooms. Deep cleaning will include sanitizing all seating and desks, as well as dust and cobweb removal from spaces. Unoccupied offices will receive a once-over too, including removing dust, dirt and cobwebs from desks, walls, baseboards and more. The level of cleaning will align with Level 2 - Ordinary Tidiness on the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers Custodial Matrix.

"For on-campus employees who may require a level of cleaning that goes above and beyond this deep cleaning program, ABM can provide a deeper, more intense one-time clean," explained Ray. Employees can contact ABM directly to request a quote ([email protected] or [email protected]); there is a charge to the initiating department for this service.

The deep cleaning program is expected to finish by the first week of September, just in time for the ramp-up to fall term. Looking forward, ABM is not returning to pre-pandemic level of service; instead, the cleaning will focus on disease prevention on the Corvallis campus. ABM’s standard service will focus on high touchpoints, public spaces and classrooms, which aligns with recent cleaning guidance for institutes for higher education from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, an ABM response team will be available at all times to respond to the needs of campus. The team will be able to mobilize quickly, in the event of a COVID-19 exposure on campus, and are trained to thoroughly sanitize an exposed area

“Our dedicated custodial staff was here the whole time, working hard to keep our buildings clean and safer for faculty, staff and students,” said Joe Majeski, director of facilities services. “The ABM team will continue to follow CDC and OSHA standards when it comes to keeping the Corvallis campus safer and healthier for all of our community members.” 

~ Erin Martin