When asked if she felt safe working at UNC, housekeeping crew leader Penny Elliott expressed mixed emotions.
“In a way yes, in a way no,” Elliott said. “Yes, because most of the students are gone now since they sent the majority of students home, and no, because the COVID virus still exists, so there’s still that possibility.”
According to the UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard, no new COVID-19 cases had been reported among campus employees as of Sept. 1.
Because no new worker cases have emerged, housekeeper Jermany Alston said she is beginning to feel more comfortable being at work.
“Since everything has died down, no cases have evolved that I know of and there’s not that many students here, I feel more safe than I did before,” Alston said.
James Stamey, a housekeeping zone manager of UNC Housekeeping and Facilities Services, said his crew works in keeping dorms clean. Stamey's crew got tested over the summer, and when outbreaks occurred in both Ehringhaus and Hinton James residence halls.
Recently, worker concerns have shifted to job security, with prospects of students safely returning to campus for spring semester remaining unclear. Stamey said he’s heard this concern from members of his staff.
“Some of my staff has asked about furloughs and layoffs, and while I’ve not heard any talks about that, everyone saw that athletics has taken some cuts," Stamey said. "Naturally, you start to wonder if it’s going to come over to your department.”
Despite future uncertainties, Stamey said his staff is continuing to adhere to OCHD and CDC guidelines moving forward, with the hopes of containing the spread of the virus and allowing campus employees to safely return to work each day.
“My staff has been very receptive,” he said. “They follow the guidelines and do what they’re supposed to do. That doesn’t mean we can’t get (the virus), but luckily so far, no one has tested positive and we’re trying to do the best that we can to keep that from happening.”