While it is our desire to return to a vibrant in-person campus community, enforcing physical distancing and de-densifying campus are the most important actions we can take to best manage the COVID-19 crisis at this point in time. The greater the number of people on campus equates to a greater risk for our community and a larger amount of required resources to maintain health and safety.
Facilities Access and Space Planning
Access to campus spaces will be restricted to the those within the SSU community throughout the pandemic. In preparation for our physical return to campus, all administrative and academic units who have been approved by the ERT to be on campus this fall have a Departmental COVID Control Plan.
Area heads will apply the guidance included in this document to the unique operational conditions of their plans and will communicate how they will resume on-campus operations safely and effectively with their teams. As part of this process, employees will receive health and safety training, and facilities will prepare the space for occupation. Plexiglass barriers have been installed in high-traffic areas where transactions occur.
Our classroom spaces, which are designed for smaller class sizes, pose a challenge for physical distancing when considering our traditional in-person learning capacities. Limiting the amount of in-person courses and campus activities will help us address this challenge and will allow the university to reconfigure larger spaces so that these interactions can be conducted safely and in accordance with the SSU COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols and state guidelines.
Offices and workstations may be reconfigured where necessary to ensure appropriate physical distancing among employees and office guests. Office appointments and meetings should be conducted virtually whenever possible or by appointment. The number of classrooms, offices and shared spaces that will be available on campus have been reduced this fall in an effort to focus Facilities’ resources for cleaning and sanitation of populated spaces.
Spaces that will be open for use will have a new maximum capacity limit displayed near the entrance. This limit takes into account the amount of space needed to allow for proper physical distancing (approximately 48 square feet per person). In order to ensure that all campus spaces are maintained appropriately, ad hoc use of space will not be permitted this semester. Classrooms and offices that are not in use will be marked “closed” and should not be used.
All classes, activities and meetings will need to be scheduled and follow the departmental approval process before a space is used. Whether a community member is on campus or not, all meetings should be conducted on a virtual platform for the foreseeable future to prevent potential exposure. If that is not possible, in-person meetings must be conducted in a location where physical distancing is achievable, and attendees must wear masks.Most common, shared and gathering spaces will not be available this fall to reduce congregation and to facilitate physical distancing. Common spaces such as shared kitchens and lounges will be closed until further notice. Dining facilities will have limited capacity, adhering to the guidance and restrictions of the Commonwealth that are similar to policies around restaurants.
SSU will establish a right of way in hallways and stairwells and will identify entrance- and exit-only doors when necessary to comply with health and safety standards. Staggered scheduling of spaces may also be used to ensure effective physical distancing in corridors and classrooms. Public hand-sanitizing units will be mounted near all building entrances, and all hand soaps in the bathrooms have been changed to an antimicrobial soap. Facilities will monitor and refill dispensers as needed. Increased communication and informational signage will aid the SSU community in navigating campus during the pandemic.
Conference and Event Space
All meeting and event spaces throughout campus will be restricted to approved bookings and will follow protocols that adhere to federal and state guidelines. Similar to classrooms, room capacities have been changed to accommodate appropriate physical distancing. Many spaces have predetermined physical distancing set-ups that are intended to remain fixed as much as possible to minimize the need for breakdown and set-up and to ensure physical distancing requirements are being followed within each space. Additional requirements to the current facilities use policies have been developed to provide guidance for each space that are in accordance with the SSU COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols. Student Life Operations is also prepared to assist and support students with virtual events and programming. This will allow for some face-to-face interaction while encouraging the development of remote services and virtual engagement.
Sanitization and Disinfection
Facilities will utilize the Department COVID Control plans of each division and department to determine which areas of campus are in use and in need of cleaning. Facilities staff will follow CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, and classrooms. Staff is trained on these sanitizing protocols and will adhere to strict PPE guidelines, including wearing masks and frequent glove changes and hand sanitizing between cleaning different areas of campus. Facilities will also be using Environmental Protection Agency approved disinfectants for cleaning. Facilities is utilizing Permasafe™ on surfaces in high-traffic areas. Permasafe™ is a spray on product that forms a barrier on surfaces which kills 99.9 percent of germs. One application can last for several months, and facilities will apply the product to surfaces at the start of each semester. More information about the facilities cleaning protocols is available.
Engineering controls involve isolating employees from work-related hazards. In workplaces where they are appropriate, these controls reduce exposure to hazards without relying on employee behavior. Engineering controls for COVID-19 include installing high-efficiency air filters, modification of HVAC systems, and design to increase ventilation rates in the work environment. By Fall of 2020, Facilities will have assessed all HVAC equipment for occupied spaces to ensure that they meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.