How Universities Are Doing Laundry for Students With Coronavirus

The tactile experience of students doing laundry has had to change in response to the pandemic. A company that provides "contactless" on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning services has announced a surge of business from colleges and universities, to address the needs of students who are in quarantine or isolation while living on campus.

Tide Cleaners, a franchise operation that provides a "quarantine wash-and-fold" business, said it has gained pickup from Drexel University and Oxford College at Emory University, among others.

According to the company, each student in isolation receives a laundry bag provided by Tide Cleaners, which is labeled with his or her name and location. The bags are stored outside of the student's room for a full day before pickup to reduce risk of transmission. Then they're washed by machine in cold water, dried on medium heat and folded "retail-style." The clothes are returned to the residence halls for delivery to students, based on a schedule set by the university. Colleges cover the cost.

"For our campus, this program has been absolutely worth it," said Melissa DePretto, senior executive director for student life at Drexel, in a press release. "Knowing that a student who's sick and not feeling well can put their laundry outside their door and take advantage of this service is so helpful. For students and staff who may be more susceptible to the coronavirus, they're also appreciative that the program is another step we're taking to limit the spread of the virus on campus."

Brittany McDermott, coordinator of student support and a health educator at Oxford College, added that "dealing with student laundry that may spread the virus is not something we have to worry about because the Tide team is taking care of everything for us."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.