Letter to the Editor: Response to article, editorial, commentary about service workers

March 11, 2020, 7:21 p.m.

As Stanford responds to the challenges of carrying out the mission of our university during the rapidly evolving COVID-19 virus, the health and well-being of every member of our campus community during these extraordinary times are paramount.

So, in light of The Stanford Daily editorial and columns on March 11, I would like to share some of the many steps we are taking to support and care for our employees. 

We value our entire workforce, especially service workers whose job responsibilities place them at the forefront of our responses to this unprecedented crisis. Although fewer students will be on campus in the coming weeks, we continue to rely on the vital services these employees provide. They keep dormitories and other buildings clean and provide food for the students, faculty and staff who remain on campus, as we continue fulfilling our mission to the greatest extent possible.

We are in ongoing discussions with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leaders so that we can work together in supporting our represented employees.

We are complying with all provisions of our Collective Bargaining Agreement and Cal/OSHA regulations aimed at protecting workers’ health and safety, and are following local, state and federal guidance, such as recommendations on notifying those who are at risk due to an exposure. 

We are working to make sure that sustainable methods are in place for necessary cleaning while protecting employees.

Dining, custodial and maintenance teams are receiving reminders and training on protocols at daily meetings — including replacing utensils every 15 minutes, frequent sanitation of dining halls and common areas in residences, and personal protective equipment and other measures for supporting students in self-isolation. Instructions for avoiding the virus have been distributed widely, including in R&DE staff newsletters and at clock-in stations, and R&DE has reviewed these measures with SEIU.

We thank everyone for their extraordinary effort and partnership to keep our community safe.

With the pillars of communication, information and protection supporting us all, we are working to provide for the needs of our entire community, including the most vulnerable, as we confront this rapidly evolving public health threat.


Elizabeth Zacharias
Vice President for Human Resources

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