Pictures circulating online among the University of Georgia community showing moldy disinfectant wipes in a study room in Building 1516 have caused concern and skepticism over the everyday cleanliness of UGA buildings.
Students have voiced concerns after a picture appeared on Reddit Sept. 9. Following the initial shock from the post, students wondered how often sanitation products are changed on campus.
“I do spend a lot of time in common spaces like the study rooms, so when I saw that [picture], I got a little concerned just wondering if they've been doing a good job cleaning it,” said Robert Fox, a fourth-year romance languages and international affairs major.
Fox, who lives in Building 1516, said he questioned campus cleanliness after seeing the photo on Reddit. He discussed the possibility of bringing his own disinfectant wipes to common areas after seeing the moldy wipes provided by the university.
“I use those [university] wipes to wipe down my area once I’m done, but now I’m not too sure if that’s even effective,” Fox said.
Maya Nahor, a senior cellular biology major, said the university is responsible for avoiding this problem.
“It’s not safe to advertise something as being disinfectant if it's not. It's definitely not safe to allow students to pull wipes that are covered in mold spores and spread them,” Nahor said.
UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor said that after the moldy wipes were discovered, building service workers began checking the containers daily. He assured the product was “EPA n-listed for COVID-19.” This refers to List N produced by the Environmental Protection Agency of all products expected to kill COVID-19.
Trevor said that concerned students should submit a housing work request if they find moldy cleaning supplies.
Trevor did not comment on why the mold developed in the first place, nor on the effectiveness of the wipes if they do develop mold.
Despite attempts by the university to keep campus as clean as possible, Nahor is still critical of the university’s position on having in-person classes amid a pandemic.
“I think that any class that can be online, should be online. I understand that it's inconvenient for some people and a little annoying for others, but whatever that inconvenience is, is dwarfed by the inconvenience of becoming incredibly ill and having life-long complications,” Nahor said.
With the growing concern over health and safety on campus, Esther Kim, a senior working at the Miller Learning Center help and security desk, wondered about students’ sanitation habits in common areas on campus.
Kim said in front of the security and help desk at the MLC is a hand sanitizer station for those entering the building and passing through the second floor.
“I would say 4 out of 5 people when they walk in use [the hand sanitizer],” Kim said.
However, Kim said that she does not see many people wipe down desks and chairs after they get up from studying. She said that she sees people wipe down tables and desks before they sit down if the area looks dirty.
Despite the university requiring masks to be worn in indoor spaces, Kim said about once an hour, the MLC security team finds roughly five people throughout the building not complying with the rule.
Nahor said she wished that more students would abide by the rules that the university has set in place and hold each other accountable both on and off campus.
“I want to remind the university that as the oldest public institution in the United States, we are responsible for setting an example, and it should not be as number-one or close to number-one in COVID-19 cases,” Nahor said.