NORTHBROOK, Ill.—June 25, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, council members for IEHA, a division of ISSA, discuss how their association is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to support housekeeping and cleaning professionals. The discussion featured Michael Patterson, executive director of IEHA, as well as Eric Bates, EVS educator and consultant; Isaac Johnson, regional director for Crothall Healthcare; Rick Parker, corporate healthcare senior account manager for Home Depot Pro; and John Mountain, account manager for 3M.

Rick Parker, IEHA council president, noted that like most organizations, all their meeting and events have been moved online. “IEHA and ISSA and all of these other big organizations have kind of lost half a year and we got a quarter and a half to make up the whole year,” Rick said. Rick also noted that the organization owes a great deal of thanks to Michael Patterson, executive director, who he says is currently responsible for “99.9% of all the work that’s done at IEHA.”

Rick believes the pandemic will change IEHA and that more training will be required for all cleaning and housekeeping staff to ensure proper protocols are followed. “I think fear is going to drive our next year,” he said.

Isaac Johnson added that he sees more collaboration among IEHA members as a result of the pandemic. “Every day something with the virus changes and so we change our approach, our steps, all the different pieces that we’re doing,” he said. He explains that he sees members sharing information about chemicals, kill times, cleaning techniques, and more.

Discussing IEHA’s role during the pandemic, Eric Bates said, “I think also we need to be looking at being the information center for our members.” He notes that how the organization does business will be virtual for the foreseeable future, but that when it comes to education and keeping up with the latest science and innovation related to COVID-19, “we need to lead in this area.”

Eric Bates and Michael Patterson also discussed Housekeepers Week, which was started by IEHA in the 90s to encourage businesses worldwide to celebrate and show appreciation for their frontline cleaning staffs. Housekeepers Week will be September 13-19, 2020, and it is an especially important year to remember and honor those workers that are on the front lines of keeping facilities clean and safe for occupants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To all current and prospective members of IEHA who are facing the pandemic and serving their communities every day, the members of the council offered messages of appreciation and assurance that the organization has their backs, and members should reach out to IEHA to share their questions, needs, ideas, and information.

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