By Olivia Bousquet
SUNY Plattsburgh dormitory bathrooms are high-traffic areas. Students rush to and from the bathrooms trying to get ready for the day: brushing their teeth, showering … and well, partaking in other bathroom duties. During a pandemic, bathrooms should be cleaned regularly to ensure safety for students throughout the week. Is SUNY Plattsburgh doing its part in keeping the dorm bathrooms clean? Most students seem to think so.
“It’s been pretty clean so far, but I think that has to do with older students living here,” SUNY Plattsburgh sophomore Daniela Raymond said. “Everyone is more mature, as opposed to living in Whiteface, in freshman housing.”
Raymond lives in Mason on an all-girls floor with fewer residents, which can be attributed to the cleaner bathrooms, but she noticed the janitorial staff clean in the bathrooms almost every day. In a recent floor meeting this week, Raymond said no one had anything negative to say about the bathrooms.
However, on Aug. 31 SUNY Plattsburgh sophomore Emily Feinburg sent an email to Mason’s head Cimmunity Advocate about how dirty her bathrooms were. Water flooded the floors, gobs of toothpaste were in the sinks and urine was around the toilet seats. According to her community director’s email, the building’s only two janitors were out for the week. The bathrooms were spotless when they returned, but only for a short while.
A week later, the disgusting bathroom conditions were back.
“Our bathroom gets cleaned from 10 to 10:30 a.m., so I went in at 10:30 because I assumed the bathrooms would have been cleaned, and the bathroom was dirty,” Feinberg said.
SUNY Plattsburgh students are not allowed to enter the bathrooms while it’s being wiped down. Janitors will not clean for the day if students are in the bathroom during their allotted cleaning time. Cleanliness should be a top priority for staff and students.
Masks must be worn unless students are at a sink or in a bathroom pod, in order to reduce potential contact. Students have varying schedules, wake up times and hygiene routines that help reduce foot-traffic in the bathrooms for one time of the day.
In Macdonough Hall, bathrooms have signs up about which bathroom sinks can be used, when the janitorial staff will be cleaning and COVID-related symptoms to be aware of, such as fever, fatigue and sore throat. Transfer student and junior Olga Muka has been surprised at how clean Mcdonough bathrooms are.
“Everytime I’m up in the morning, I see [the janitor] go in to clean it,” Muka said, “And she always says, ‘morning.’”
Kent Hall’s Head CA James Faraci has expressed how seven-day cleaning was implemented last week, which is important for their single janitor. Community Living saw the weakness in one janitor and hired a second full-time cleaner.
“We are certainly grateful for our cleaners for the job that they’ve done,” Faraci said.
Sinks have signs above them reading, “Please Use Every Other Sink.” However, without the sinks being physically blocked off, students still have access to using all sinks. This would put students less than six-feet apart which is against social distancing guidelines and puts them at high-risk for COVID-19 contact since masks do not need to be worn at the sinks.
Freshman Lily White lives in Whiteface Hall, where the biggest problem with cleanliness is other students. Hair clinging to the shower walls, toilet paper piled on the ground, gobs of toothpaste in the sinks and shaven hair on the countertops would make anyone feel disgusted.
“Whenever I’ve gone in there, like in the morning and [janitors] just cleaned it, it’s fine,” White said.
The water’s been drained, toilets have been wiped down and the trash has been emptied. Students just have a poor standard of living when it comes to shared bathrooms.
The janitorial staff at SUNY Plattsburgh has been keeping up their part in cleaning dorm bathrooms for students, especially during a time when good hygiene is more important than ever. The students, however, need to be considerate of others using a communal space.
Simply — clean up after yourself.