How Colleges and Institutions Can Plan for Fall Reopening
By Brian Morrison, CEO of Terraboost Wellness Solutions / Tazza® Brand Sanitizer
The buildings and dorms within America’s colleges and universities are amongst the most densely populated public spaces in the nation. As we enter August 2020 an estimated and staggering 25 million U.S. based students, grad students and faculty wonder what the upcoming academic year will bring, if anything at all in the physical sense.
Meanwhile, in the days and weeks leading up to the possible opening of fall semester 2020, the heads of facilities and operations at our nations’ universities have been making heroic efforts to source supplies, having been thrust into the immediate and sudden role of PPE expert, having had to educate themselves about topics rarely relevant in the past and placed under enormous pressure to acquire mass quantities of various PPE against historic and unprecedented stock-outs on some of the key items across the industry.
In order to control the spread of COVID-19, school facility directors have had to quickly figure out how to:
- distinguish between various styles of masks and estimate what size gloves to order,
- project quantities of hand sanitizing wipe/ surface cleaning wipe consumption when there is no historical precedent to budget against,
- determine where to place hand sanitizing stations and the difference between alcohol-free and alcohol hand sanitizer, for example.
Because most janitorial distributors have extremely limited access to much of the critical PPE, universities facility directors are having to integrate new vendors and conduct rapid due diligence which only adds to the stress and pressure of making the right decisions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is mainly spread from person-to-person. While class sizes have, of course, been adjusted to reduce risk, adding opportunities to sanitize hands and clean surfaces between classes and at other various high-risk touchpoints has been a common strategy that our university clients are leveraging. More specifically, some of the common use cases we’ve seen include:
- Placing large capacity 1,200-count buckets of 70% alcohol hand sanitizing/ surface cleaning wipes in classrooms, so students can clean surfaces and hands prior to class. Per the CDC, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may be used to disinfect, which has the added benefit (over many EPA wipes) of being able to be used without gloves.
- Placing hand-sanitizing wipe stations in highly trafficked buildings, dorms, apartments, meeting areas including outdoor areas
- Providing small packets of resealable hand-sanitizing wipes (20 or 50 count wipe packets) to students, faculty, and employees to carry with them
- University-branded jumbo 10-liter hand-sanitizing dispenser with capacity of more than 20,000 uses to reduce efforts of janitorial staff
Our company, Terraboost, is a U.S.-based manufacturer of hand sanitizer, wipes, and wellness kiosks and has historically focused on serving the retail sector including famous brands, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Albertsons over the past 15 years with over 100,000 wellness kiosks installed across the nation.
When the pandemic hit, our immediate priority was to ensure we could supply our core retail customers with the hand sanitizer and wipes they needed to keep their shoppers and employees safe. Once we were sure we could hit our client’s continued need for products, we reached out to Universities to offer our additional capacity having made our product available to institutions such as John Hopkins, Harvey Mudd, Temple, Arizona State, University of Colorado, Case Western, and University of Illinois.
Beyond providing our wellness products to companies and organizations that need them, Terraboost is also proud to be engaged with Stop the Spread, a non-profit with the mission being the harnessing the collective power of the private and public sectors to address the health of our nation. The organization’s mission is to align supply of PPE where it is needed most to reduce the amount of suffering created by this terrible disease. Terraboost has been making a concerted effort to make charitable donations when possible as well. Recently, we donated more than 100 wellness billboards to Feeding America in the hopes of generating QR-based donations from supermarket shoppers, as they sanitize their hands.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented colleges and universities with an unprecedented challenge from so many angles. By quickly putting into place wellness solutions to stop or slow the spread of the virus, we will be able to continue educating America’s students and allow our great education system to continue delivering the world- class results that make us the educational envy of the world.