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Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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A Day In The Life Of A COVID-19 Essential Worker At The University Of Free State


RIA Deysel, Director of Facilities Management in University Estates, is one of a small group of staff members who have been on campus since the start of the national lockdown, ensuring that all the University of the Free State (UFS) campuses are COVID-19-proof and ready for the return of staff and students.

Deysel’s day started with a routine check of the University Estates screening forms.

Thereafter, she had to ensure that social distancing was followed in service areas and in offices.

Confirming that cleaning and garden programmes were being followed as implemented by the heads of the Cleaning and Garden Divisions in order to avoid large groups in the workplace, was also one of Deysel’s specialisation areas during the lockdown.

This also extended to working during weekends whenever her team’s services were required, whether putting up 7 000 posters in strategic areas in one day, installing or refilling sanitisers, or decontaminating buildings.

Making certain that the necessary supplies were distributed to the workers, including personal protection equipment (PPE), and that workers adhered to the regulations regarding PPE, was also part of Deysel’s daily responsibilities.

Her office received approximately 20 cleaning and sanitising enquiries on a daily basis, which needed to be answered or acted upon.

Deysel chaired a minimum of six virtual meetings per day.

Some of these were staff meetings held to discuss compliance and protocols.

Others formed part of the regular consultations with Kovsie Health as well as Occupational Health and Safety to ensure that buildings complied with COVID-19 requirements regarding hygiene and cleaning.

Since Deysel is based in the Bloemfontein Campus, her to-do list also involved constantly updating the South and Qwaqwa Campuses regarding new and ongoing arrangements.

Part of her everyday schedule was to check the status of supplies to ablution facilities, cleaning, and sanitisers at building entrances.

All temporary washbasins on the grounds required regular inspections, in addition to the refilling of sanitiser and soap.

Deysel took care of this when checking that all contaminated boxes on campus were emptied. These were some of the many duties that Deysel fulfilled as a standard part of her day.

Deysel said she enjoys her work and making a contribution to keeping both staff and students safe on campus in this way. “It is important for me to improve the quality and productivity in the Hygiene and Cleaning Division to ensure a safe and comfortable work environment for UFS staff, students, and clients.”

She concluded: “I have a passion for working with people and I enjoy the fact that my position enables me to excel together with my staff.”


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