Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

For buildings that are open and operational, Facilities Management will be concentrating on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces within common spaces throughout the day. These include door handles, railings, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, faucets, etc.

Approved classrooms, studios and other instructional areas will be cleaned and disinfected by a dedicated staffing team in coordination with the class schedules, building managers and academic program leaders.

Common area restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day on a rotating schedule. Restrooms with multiple stalls should be limited based on room size to ensure at least six (6) feet of distance between individuals, and face masks must be worn within restrooms. Single pull paper towel dispensers will replace the use of hand dryers in common area bathrooms, and hand sanitizer will additionally be made available outside of the restrooms. According to the CDC guide for hand washing and nail hygiene, users should wash their hands for at least twenty (20) seconds after using restroom facilities to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

In addition to traditional disinfecting methods, new technology will be applied in spaces as appropriate and most efficient. Facilities will utilize both disinfecting misters as well as equipment which uses ionization and electrostatic filtration to provide continuous disinfecting.

The continued support and cooperation of the campus community is equally as important. Please wash your hands frequently, stay a minimum of 6 ft. apart, sanitize what you touch (both before and after), and keep your personal, work or living spaces as clean as possible.

Access to Disinfecting, Sanitizing and Cleaning Supplies

Throughout campus, wall mounted and pump hand sanitizer dispensers will be located inside the main entrances of the buildings, outside the common area bathrooms and at other highly visible and frequented areas. Freestanding gallon pump dispensers will also be used in areas where flexibility and movement is necessary.

Single pull paper towel dispensers may be installed at areas of need to assist with cleaning and disinfecting of spaces.

Residential students will be provided one small hand sanitizer, disinfectant product (wipes or aerosol can) and a washable microfiber rag in their assigned room at the beginning of the fall semester. Students are responsible for additional supplies as needed. Personal residential apartments, suites, rooms and bathrooms will be the responsibility of the occupant.

Personal offices, desks and cubicles will be the responsibility of the individual occupying them. Disinfectant, sanitizers and wipes/paper towels will be available for use.

Please do not flush disinfectant wipes as they will clog the toilets. Please throw them away with the trash.

Building HVAC/Air Circulation

Members of the Facilities Planning workgroup and Facilities staff have been participating throughout the summer in a SUNY-wide task force which brought together expertise from throughout the system to discuss strategies for HVAC, sanitation, project management, and space planning. Based on that discussion and the resulting recommendations, Facilities Management is implementing a series of best practices that are compatible for our infrastructure and needs. 

Facilities Management will be implementing strategies for non-healthcare buildings recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). ASHRAE is additionally the organization that SUNY used in their planning groups as guidance for recommendations. The specific strategies implemented by Facilities are based on risk assessments and scientific studies cited by ASHRAE. These building airflow strategies are designed to control and disrupt the transmission pathways of infectious aerosols. As per ASHRAE, “even the most robust HVAC system cannot control all airflows and completely prevent dissemination of an infectious aerosol or disease transmission by droplets or aerosols.”

The following list of strategies for prevention and risk mitigation are part of an overall multi-tiered plan that also includes sanitizing, disinfecting, mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing:

  • Increase outdoor air ventilation by opening outdoor air dampers to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit. Rate of outdoor air brought into buildings will be increased based on outdoor air temperature and humidity levels. Percent of outdoor air will be increased based on the following parameters: 55 degrees, 40% - 60% relative humidity. The rate of outdoor air will gradually decrease as it falls outside of these parameters.
  • Improve central air and other HVAC filtration to MERV-13 (ASHRAE 2017b) or the highest level achievable. As per ASHRAE, “the use of highly efficient particle filtration in centralized HVAC systems reduces the airborne load of infectious particles (Azimi and Stephens 2013).” This strategy reduces the transport of infectious agents from one area to another when these areas share the same central HVAC system through a supply of recirculated air. Facilities has ensured that filtration within each building is at the highest level that the system can accommodate.
  • Keep systems running longer hours (24/7, if possible). Facilities will continue to operate central HVAC systems 24/7 to optimize the number of air changes in all occupied buildings.
  • Maintain temperature and humidity as applicable to the infectious aerosol of concern. Temperature will be maintained to keep humidity between 40% -60%. As per ASHRAE, “scientific literature generally reflects the most unfavorable survival for microorganisms when the RH is between 40% and 60%.”
  • Bypass energy recovery ventilation systems that leak potentially contaminated exhaust air back into the outdoor air supply. Facilities will bypass energy recovery ventilation systems as recommended and where applicable.

Waste Centralization

As part of a comprehensive plan to provide increased safety, reduce exposure and integrate sustainability into all aspects of the college’s operations, the college will be centralizing its garbage and recycling efforts starting this fall. Rather than have Facilities staff enter individual offices, desk areas or cubicles, faculty and staff will need to dispose of recycling and garbage at specifically marked containers in designated common areas of each building.

There are several benefits to consolidating waste/recycling with safety an reducing potential exposure being the college’s number one priority. Reducing traffic to individual offices reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, the time saved from not emptying individual containers in every office also allows the Custodial department more time to focus on disinfecting high touch areas within your building throughout the day. From a sustainability perspective, centralized waste stations have proven to reduce overall waste while increasing recycling and diversion. This initiative will also directly reduce the college’s plastic use as we eliminate the need for excess bin liners, and the savings will provide additional cleaning resources for the college. Beyond the environmental advantage, there are added wellness benefits of increased movement throughout the day and increased emotional well-being by contributing toward our sustainability goals.


“Stay Healthy” signage will be installed throughout campus reminding the community to maintain social distancing, wash hands, complete daily health screenings and wear face coverings. Directional signage and markings will be provided for safe building flow and department/building specific needs as necessary.

Contractors and Campus Projects

All contractors must submit and follow a safety plan that includes how they will meet all campus requirements in regards to social distancing, PPE, sanitizing, disinfecting and health screening. Employees of contractors are instructed to stay within their designated work areas and not utilize other campus buildings or spaces. In addition to the required safety plan, NYS requires that all contractors affirm that they have read and understand their obligations to operate in accordance with the Interim Guidance for Construction Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PDF).

Additional Resources

For additional resources, please refer to the Purchase College Office of Environmental Health and Safety webpage, which includes topics such as: