DMACC security fights back against COVID-19

COVID-19 cases in Iowa have continued to rise, Friday alone saw 3,533 new cases and 912 hospitalizations. Despite this, DMACC’s campus security has been facing the challenge head-on. 

When COVID-19 first hit the country and colleges began going virtual, security was faced with uncertainty. Director of Campus Safety Jay Tiefenthaler said, “From a security standpoint, we really weren’t sure what it was going to look like, other than we knew we’re going to need security to continue to maintain the security of our buildings.”

When people were allowed back on campus, security had to take on new roles to ensure people’s health and safety. This included a new system for incident reporting on campus that offers the ability to report a potential COVID-19 exposure. By using the incident form, staff and students can report a positive case, exposure, or presumed case to security. Once this has been reported, security will begin the contact trace process and clean any areas that may have been exposed.

DMACC Security Officer Terry Harrison commented on how fast incidents can be reported saying, “As soon as you hit save, it’s getting out within five-ten minutes to everyone that needs to know about it. As soon as we’re notified we can start to trace.”

Tiefenthaler adds, “The first week of the fall semester, we had a significant number of cases come in, since then it’s dropped off pretty steadily to where we don’t have anywhere near the same number of cases.” 

According to the data on DMACC’s website, as of Nov. 3, Ankeny Campus has 8 positive cases with 123 total cases to date, Boone has 7 positive cases with 20 total cases to date, Carroll has 3 positive cases with 12 total cases to date, Newton has 1 positive cases with 10 total cases to date, and Urban, West, Marion, Southridge, and Perry currently have 0 positive cases.

Tiefenthaler said security has had to become more familiar with their cleaning protocols. Security has learned the importance of disinfectant, and has to find ways to acquire masks for campus use. When COVID-19 first hit, security was able to commission the fashion department to make hand crafted masks for the security team. Now as time has gone on, security is working with larger vendors that can ship upwards of 10,000 masks to security in a matter of days. 

Tiefenthaler commended the work of security stating, “I’ll give a lot of credit to the officers because they’ve really had to expand beyond what they had done before just because the schedules are really different with regards to their daily duties.”

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