Chartwells responds, takes precautions during Norovirus outbreak


Due to the virus’ highly contagious nature, constant hand washing and staying away from those infected are the best preventative measures, according to Cora Hanson of EHS.Chartwells has created “flu friendly” kits which include foods like crackers, chicken broth packets, applesauce and can be picked up in any of the residential cafeterias.The cafeterias are also trading out and sanitizing all utensils to maintain a clean eating environment.

Following the recent spread of the Norovirus on campus, the fear of eating in the resident’s hall has risen. Many students instantly pointed fingers to Chartwells and claimed it was the company’s fault; however, Chartwells has taken measures in protecting students from the outbreak.

“As soon as we were notified, campus dining spoke with all associates about potential service changes and additional disinfection processes for common areas in dining venues that would take place to prevent the spread of the outbreak” James Heffner, Resident Dining Director of OU’s Chartwells said.

In addition, Heffner said that utensils were changed out more frequently, and normal silverware was swapped with plastic utensils. The common area surfaces were disinfected after each meal- this included tray slides, milk dispensers, fountain dispensers, and door handles.

However, these fixes didn’t qualm all student fears.

“Thursday was the first day I heard about it, and I felt like it wasn’t enough time for the place to be sanitized,” freshman Kristina Whitaker said, “I didn’t want to be around people who had it.”

“I didn’t eat immediately after the outbreak for a day. I was worried that a worker or someone in the cafeteria would be contagious, and I could get sick and not know it,” freshman Natalie Kreps said.

“Campus dining is always safe, but after learning of the outbreak, additional disinfection of the dining hall was done between meal services as a preventative measure,” Heffner said.

Despite students being sick, Chartwells has taken measures to allow sick students to get the food that they need. A carry out meal of applesauce, chicken broth, crackers, hot tea and an orange was put together for sick students to eat.

Heffner said that to stay safe, students should stay hydrated, wash their hands often, and take preventative measures to avoid spreading a virus.