Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cleaning high touch surfaces and shared objects once per day is generally sufficient for removing the virus that may remain on surfaces unless someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been using the space. Disinfecting using products on the U.S. EPA-approved list will remove any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces risk of spreading infection.

Facilities Management (FMG) will disinfect frequently touched surfaces within common spaces on a daily basis, including items such as door handles, railings, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, faucets, etc.

If there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a building or space within the last 24 hours, FMG will thoroughly clean and disinfect the space per CDC guidelines prior to re-occupancy.

Common area restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily on a rotating schedule. Single-pull paper towel dispensers have replaced the use of hand dryers in common area bathrooms, and hand sanitizer is additionally available outside of each restroom. According to the CDC guide for hand washing and nail hygiene, users should wash their hands for at least twenty seconds after using restroom facilities to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Access to Disinfecting, Sanitizing and Cleaning Supplies

Throughout campus, hand sanitizer dispensers will be located within the main entrances of the buildings, outside of common area bathrooms, and at other highly visible and frequented areas. Freestanding gallon pump dispensers may also be used in areas where flexibility and movement is necessary. Additionally, paper towel dispensers may be installed in areas of need to assist with campus cleaning and disinfecting efforts.

Please note that personal offices, desks, and cubicles will be the responsibility of the individual occupying them, though disinfectant, sanitizers, and wipes/paper towels will be available as needed via building managers.

Residential students will need to provide their own cleaning, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant products. Please select disinfectants from the EPA-approved list of products that work on COVID-19. Hand sanitizer must contain a minimum of 60% alcohol to be effective.

As a general reminder, disinfectant wipes should not be flushed down toilets as this will result in clogs. Instead, please throw them away with your trash.

Building HVAC/Air Circulation

Members of the Facilities Planning workgroup and FMG staff have been participating throughout the summer in a SUNY-wide task force. This task force brought together expertise throughout the SUNY system to discuss strategies for HVAC, sanitation, project management, and space planning. 

Based on these discussions and the resulting recommendations, FMG implemented a series of current best practices that are compatible with our infrastructure and needs. FMG utilized 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 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 includes sanitizing, disinfecting, mask wearing, and hand washing:

  • 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 as continuously as possible 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 building fresh 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 has centralized its garbage and recycling efforts. 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 health and safety benefits to consolidating waste/recycling. Directly, 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 of the most recent campus guidance and instructions.

Contractors and Campus Projects

Contractors working at the College shall be aware of and meet the expectations described in the “Purchase College COVID-19 – Contractor Expectations” document to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This document covers General Precautions, PPE, sanitizing, disinfecting and health screening. It is expected that all vendors and contractors follow the most recent campus procedures. A signed copy of this document must be returned to Louis Wirtz from the office of Environmental Health and Safety prior to beginning any work on campus.

As of August 2021, changes to the College’s current Masking Policy have been made. Anyone within the campus, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask while indoors, especially in enclosed spaces when other people are present. Masks may be removed if an individual is alone in a private indoor space. Masks are not required when outdoors, regardless of location.

To help illustrate the policy change, here are a few scenarios:

  • Working alone in room or space – masks are not required.
  • Working alone in a space and someone walks in – masks are required to be worn by all people.
  • Working outside – masks are not required.
  • Traveling to and from a job site on campus – masks are required to be worn by all people in the vehicle.
  • Eating or on a break with other people present – masks are required to be worn by all people.
  • Walking through common areas of a building – masks are required

Additional Resources

For additional resources, please refer to the Purchase College Office of Environmental Health and Safety webpage.