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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

COVID-19 Campus Reopening Custodial FAQ

What is the preferred way to protect against COVID on campus, hand washing with soap water or using hand sanitizer

  • The CDC states that handwashing is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick, in most situations. It recommends use of hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not readily available.

What is the most effective way to wash my hands? And how frequently should I wash them?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap. Then lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure you lather the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice). Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. If you are unable to turn the water back on with your elbow, leave the water running while you wash your hands. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Use your elbow or paper towel to shut off the water and open the door.

You should wash your hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating food, after going to the bathroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching an animal and after touching garbage.

What is the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing?

  • Cleaning: Removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. Removing germs decreases their number and therefore the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting: Uses chemicals to kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. However, killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces the risk of spreading infection.
  • Sanitizing: Reduces (not kills) bacteria on surfaces, per product label. Does not provide kill claim for viruses. Not as harsh as disinfecting.

What disinfectants kill COVID-19?

  • The EPA’s “List N” provides a list of products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This list is updated with additional products, as needed and includes information about the effectiveness of disinfectants on different surface types (ex: hard, non-porous surfaces and soft, porous surfaces). ESF uses Hillyard’s Arsenal 1 QT Plus (EPA Reg #6836-77-1658) and Non -Acid Restroom Disinfectant/Cleaner (EPA Reg # 1839-169-1658) to disinfect areas on campus.
  • *Note, members of the campus community are permitted to bring a very limited number of outside chemicals to campus (outside hand sanitizer is acceptable). Please see the Does ESF provide disinfectant to the campus community for use on campus? question for more information about how to disinfect on campus.*

How long does disinfectant keep an area/surface clean and safe?

  • An area or surface is no longer disinfected once a person touches it. Therefore, it is very important to continually clean frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks and ATM machines.

What is the right way to disinfect a surface?

  • First, clean the surface with a routine cleaning product or soap and water to physically remove germs, dirt and impurities. Read the instructions on the disinfectant bottle. Some disinfectants have different "dwell times" or "contact times". This is the amount of time that a disinfecting product needs to sit (or dwell) on a surface in order to kill organisms. The disinfectant that ESF uses (Hillyard's Arsenal 1 QT Plus and Non-Acid Restroom Disinfectant/Cleaner) should be left on hard, non-porous surfaces for 10 minutes before being wiped dry or air drying.

Is it important to clean a surface before disinfecting it?

  • Yes! It is important to remove dirt and grime from visibly soiled surfaces prior to disinfecting. Cleaning before disinfecting physically removes germs and better enables the disinfectant to kill any germs that may remain on the surface.

What is "dwell time"? How long does it take for a disinfectant to kill COVID-19?

  • Dwell time, or contact time, is the amount of time that a disinfecting product needs to sit (or dwell) on a surface in order to kill organisms. Different disinfectants have different dwell times, so be sure to fully read the disinfectant's product label and follow the instructions.

What is more sanitary? Hand dryers or paper towels?

  • Paper towels seem to be the sanitary winner. A study conducted by the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University found that, “many types of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers”. Essentially, this means that hand dryers have the capacity to draw pathogens from the air in public restrooms and deposit them on washed hands. The Harvard Health Blog also recommends use of paper towels instead of hand dryers. This recommendation is based upon another study featured in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

ESF uses unbleached, brown paper towels, which are more environmentally friendly than their bleached counterparts. In addition, if the used paper towels are placed in the appropriate compost container, these discarded materials are managed more sustainably (composted).

What is "PPE"?

  • PPE stands for personal protective equipment. In the case of COVID-19, this includes items such as N95 masks, gloves and in some cases, goggles, face shields, gowns or coveralls and shoe covers.

Are cloth face coverings "PPE"?

  • Cloth face coverings (including bandanas) are not classified as personal protective equipment (PPE), but instead are community protective equipment (CPE). The CDC states that cloth face coverings may not protect the wearer, but may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.

Are members of the campus community required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when cleaning common spaces?

  • Members of the campus community do not need to wear specialized PPE (gloves, face shields etc) when cleaning common spaces. A mask must be worn if a 6-foot distance between other people is not able to be maintained. Regardless, care should be taken to avoid inhaling disinfectant spray mist.
  • If a member of the campus community would like to use gloves to disinfect spaces, please contact the A&TS stockroom (mabraun@esf.edu or 315-470-6869) for more information. The A&TS stockroom also has masks, wipes and hand sanitizer for sale. A full list of available products can be seen here.

What is the proper way to put on a take off personal protective equipment (PPE)?

  • This CDC guidance outlines the proper way to put on (don) and take off (doff) gowns, masks or respirators, goggles or face shields and gloves.

Can I bring cleaning products, disinfectants and/or hand sanitizer from home to campus?

  • Members of the campus community are permitted to bring a very limited list of cleaning products or disinfectants to campus. However, use of College-provided disinfectant should be prioritized whenever possible. Instructions for disinfectant use can be found here.

Please contact Deb Faust, Supervising Janitor, at 315-470-4756 or dafaust@esf.edu to request disinfectant and microfiber cloths. This process will ensure that disinfectant used on campus is effective against COVID-19 and will also create an indoor environment that is conscious of allergies and chemical/fragrance sensitivities.

If an outside product must be used, the following products have been approved for use on ESF campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please do not bring products beyond this approved list to campus. If you choose to select a product from the list below, make every attempt to purchase products with minimal odor. Please be respectful to members of the campus community with fragrance sensitives and/or allergies.

  • Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
    All products with blue virus circle-backslash symbol are approved for use on campus and are effective against COVID-19

  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
    All products with blue virus circle-backslash symbol are approved for use on campus and are effective against COVID-19

  • Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner
    All products on this list are approved for use on campus and are effective against COVID-19

Members of the campus community are permitted to bring hand sanitizer to campus. The College does have a supply of personal (2 oz) hand sanitizer. All Faculty, Staff and Students have been provided with a 2 oz spray top bottle of hand sanitizer. These personal bottles are able to be refilled from bulk bottles on campus. Refill locations can be found on the final page of this instruction sheet.

Do enhanced cleaning practices associated with COVID19 fit within the College's Green Cleaning Policy?

  • COVID-19 has necessitated the wide use of disinfectants on campus. By their very virtue, disinfectants cannot be classified as a green cleaning product. In fact, the EPA classifies disinfectants as pesticides. ESF’s Green Cleaning Policy states that 75% (by cost) of the College’s cleaning products expenditures must meet GreenSeal, UL EcoLogo, EPA Safer Choice Standard or NYS OGS Green Cleaning Program standards. Prior to COVID-19, ESF operations on the Syracuse campus complied with the College’s Policy. However, operational needs have dictated heavy use of disinfectant and hand sanitizer on campus. Therefore, the College may not be able to attain compliance with its Green Cleaning Policy while COVID-19 remains a threat on campus.

What disinfectant is the College using? Is it on the EPA registered list as effective against COVID-19?

  • ESF uses and provides the campus community with Hillyard's Arsenal 1 QT Plus (EPA Reg #6836-77-1658) and/or Non -Acid Restroom Disinfectant/Cleaner (EPA Reg # 1839-169-1658). They are on the EPA's registered list as effective against COVID-19.

Who do I contact with a question about cleaning?

  • Please contact Deb Faust, Supervising Janitor, with questions about routine and COVID-19 cleaning. Phone: 315-470-4756 or Email: dafaust@esf.edu

What hours are custodial staff on campus?

  • During traditional (non COVID-19) operations, the custodial staff are on campus from 5:00am-3:30pm. Some staff begin their work day at 5:00am, while others report to work at 6:00am or 7:00am. Each building has an assigned custodial staff team and there are two or three custodial staff members on a "project team" that float from building to building, assisting where needed.

These hours are subject to change, as the ESF operations team adapts to the ever-changing COVID-19 reality. The College will be welcoming students back to campus for the Fall semester, but campus will look, feel and function differently than it has in the past. For example, class times could be altered to allow for increased cleaning time between classes and/or some large classes may be broken into smaller sections to allow for social distancing in the classroom. If buildings remain occupied beyond traditional hours, the custodial staff team will likely expand its hours of service. However, it is important to note that building occupants are asked to assist with cleaning, particularly in shared spaces and individual offices, in order to maximize the safety of our built environment. Please see the "What campus areas are the responsibility of custodial staff to clean? What campus areas are the responsibility of building occupants to clean?" question for more information about the campus areas in which cleaning are responsibility of the entire community to help clean.

How is cleaning prioritized?

  • In general, the custodial staff prioritizes cleaning on campus in the following way: 1) classrooms, teaching labs, computer labs and studios, 2) restrooms, 3) corridors, stairwells, elevators, conference rooms, interior/exterior entryways, and 4) offices and non-teaching labs. Custodial staff will endeavor to maintain this prioritization, but COVID-19 necessitates a much more focused prioritization on high touch point areas, such as: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks and ATM machines. Staff will clean these high touch areas as many times as possible throughout each day. Members of the campus community also have a responsibility to help keep our built environment safe. Try to avoid touching surfaces and objects as much as possible. See the "What campus areas are the responsibility of custodial staff to clean? What campus areas are the responsibility of building occupants to clean?" question for a detailed breakdown of the areas that custodial staff will be cleaning on a more frequent basis and to understand what areas of campus are the responsibility of the entire community to help clean.

How can I show appreciation to the members of the custodial staff team?

  • A simple, heartfelt thank you goes a long way! You can also lend your help in keeping our built environment safe and clean. Cleaning during the COVID-19 outbreak is a massive undertaking and success will require mutual effort. Please see the "What campus areas are the responsibility of custodial staff to clean? What campus areas are the responsibility of building occupants to clean?" question for a detailed breakdown of the areas that custodial staff will be cleaning on a more frequent basis and to understand what areas of the campus are the responsibility of the entire community to help clean.

How do custodial staff track what has been disinfected each day?

  • Custodial staff complete a Daily Disinfection Tracking document to report areas that they disinfect each day (and frequency). Disinfection logs have also been placed in classrooms and restrooms. This will help the College to assess staffing levels and to optimize cleaning assignments. Please keep in mind that creating and maintaining a safe and clean campus environment is the responsibility of the entire campus community. Please see the “What campus areas are the responsibility of custodial staff to clean? What campus areas are the responsibility of building occupants to clean?” question for a breakdown of cleaning responsibilities.

Do the College's vacuums have high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters?

Are cleaning staff using "foggers" to disinfect spaces?

  • Foggers create clouds of extremely small droplets of disinfecting liquid. ESF custodial staff are not using this method of cleaning on campus. SUNY guidance minimizes recommending the use of foggers in campus spaces and states that the use of fumigants or fogs is not generally necessary or productive. Similarly, the EPA does not recommend fogging applications or wide area spraying of disinfectants to control COVID-19.

What campus areas are the responsibility of custodial staff to disinfect? What campus areas are the responsibility of building occupants to disinfect?

  • During "normal" (non-COVID-19) operations, the cleaning staff are primarily responsible for cleaning classrooms, teaching and non-teaching labs (dry labs), computer labs, studios, restrooms, corridors, stairwells, elevators, conference rooms, interior/exterior entryways and offices. This breakdown and prioritization can be viewed by following this link. This document offers detailed cleaning prioritization and specification information.

Due to COVID-19, cleaning frequency has been greatly increased. Custodial staff will endeavor to clean and disinfect the following areas twice a day: individual and shared bathrooms, classrooms, lecture spaces, dry labs, computer labs, Trailhead Cafe seating area, elevators, entrances, lobbies, library, receiving and mailroom, reception areas, breakrooms and the College Bookstore. They will also clean and disinfect high touch point surfaces as frequently as possible. This cleaning scheduled is an extraordinarily large undertaking, so please make sure you voice your appreciation to our cleaning staff!

Building/space occupants are also being asked to pitch in to help create and maintain a safe built campus environment. An object or surface is no longer disinfected the moment a person touches it. It is not possible for the custodial team to continually disinfect all high touch point (ex: light switches, door handles, keyboards) areas on campus. Therefore, members of the campus community are responsible for helping to clean studios, auditoriums, breakrooms, stockrooms, classrooms and lecture spaces, computer labs, conference rooms, event spaces, greenhouses, indoor gathering spaces, kitchenettes, labs, library tables and bookshelves, mechanical rooms, individual and shared offices, reception areas, receiving and mailroom, and recording studios after use. General instructions for spray disinfectant and disinfecting wipes can be found here. Instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with spray disinfectant and microfiber cloths can be seen here and instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with wipes can be seen here. This link will take you to a short video detailing how to disinfect classroom and lab spaces on campus.

The custodial staff will make every effort to clean these areas as frequently as possible (except for shared and individual office spaces), but it will take a community effort to keep surfaces disinfected. Staff and Faculty members are able to request disinfectant and microfiber cloths. Contact Deb Faust, Supervising Janitor, at 315-470-4756 or dafaust@esf.edu for more information.

Will my office be cleaned and disinfected by Custodial Staff?

  • Custodial staff will not be cleaning and disinfecting shared or individual office spaces. Custodial staff will be focused on cleaning and disinfecting densely populated areas of campus, that see a lot of foot traffic each day. Office occupants are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their spaces and Faculty and Staff members are able to request disinfectant and microfiber cloths. Contact Deb Faust, Supervising Janitor, at 315-470-4756 or dafaust@esf.edu for more information.

Will all classrooms/lecture spaces be disinfected between classes?

  • Hard surfaces in classrooms and lecture spaces will be disinfected between classes. Each classroom (except for the largest lecture spaces) will be equipped with disinfectant and microfiber cloths. General instructions for spray disinfectant and disinfecting wipes can be found here. Instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with spray disinfectant and microfiber cloths can be seen here and instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with wipes can be seen here. This link will take you to a short video detailing how to disinfect classroom and lab spaces on campus.

Per NY Forward guidance, a disinfection log has been placed in each classroom space and must be dated, time stamped and signed by the person who disinfected the space between classes (or in the case of wipes, the person who witnessed students disinfecting their spaces).

Microfiber cloths will be laundered by the custodial staff once per week. The last page of these instructions provides information about where you can refill your 2oz hand sanitizer spray bottle and where you can drop off microfiber cloths for laundering.

It is very important to pay attention to labels placed on spray and wipes! Spray disinfectant should never be used for electronics. Alcohol wipes are labelled for use on electronics.

Does ESF provide disinfectant to the campus community for use on campus?

General instructions for spray disinfectant and disinfecting wipes can be found here. Instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with spray disinfectant and microfiber cloths can be seen here and instructions for how to disinfect a classroom equipped with wipes can be seen here. This link will take you to a short video detailing how to disinfect classroom and lab spaces on campus.

Are paper towels used with disinfectant able to be composted?

  • No. Paper towels that have come in contact with disinfectant should be placed in the trash.

How frequently are microfiber cloths washed? And who washes them?

  • Faculty and staff are able to request disinfectant and microfiber cloths for use on campus by contacting Deb Faust, Supervising Janitor at 315-470-4756 or dafaust@esf.edu. Custodial staff will wash these microfiber cloths at least once a week. This flyer (PDF) contains instructions for disinfectant use and the locations for microfiber cloth drop spots.

Can I take disinfectant/hand sanitizer provided by the College home with me?

  • These items are College property; therefore, we ask that all disinfectant and microfiber cloths remain on campus at all times. It may become difficult to purchase these items in the future, so it is extremely important that the College have an accurate understanding of how much product is present on campus.

Is hand sanitizer available on campus? How do I request hand sanitizer?

  • Yes, personal 2oz bottles are available for faculty/staff and students. Bottles have been distributed throughout campus. If you do not have a bottle, please contact Deb Faust at dafaust@esf.edu. There are also wall mounted hand sanitizer units located by entrances and large gathering spaces in each building.

How are campus fleet vehicles being cleaned?

  • Garage staff disinfect the interior (high touch points) of fleet vehicles once they return to campus. They have a supply of disinfectant and microfiber cloths and wear proper personal protective equipment (gloves and masks) while disinfecting. However, if you would like to disinfect a vehicle before you take it, please contact Jason Chagnon at 315-470-6590 or jmchagno@esf.edu prior to your scheduled vehicle pickup time.

Are mail and packages being disinfected as they come and go on campus?

  • CDC guidance does not recommend disinfecting mail and packages. Instead, its guidance recommends washing your hands after handling mail and packages. Our mailroom and shipping & receiving staff are continually disinfecting their work stations, are wearing gloves and masks and have hand sanitizer. Please contact Linda Bacon at 515-470-6922 or lbacon@esf.edu for more information.

What is the best way to disinfect electronics?

  • Never use spray disinfectant on electronics. Pay close attention to labels affixed to spray bottles and wipe packets/buckets throughout campus. Wipes for use on electronics are labelled as such.

How is/are campus space/s cleaned if someone is suspected to have or has a confirmed case of COVID19?

  • Per CDC guidance, facilities do not necessarily need to close if a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been present. The area(s) used or visited by the ill person should be closed for 24 hours (or as long as possible) before any cleaning takes place. Outside doors and windows should be opened whenever feasible. Then the area will be appropriately disinfected, and re-opened for use. Workers without close contact with the person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can return to work immediately after disinfection is completed. If a space where a person with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case is able to be kept closed for 7 consecutive days, enhanced cleaning (disinfection) does not need to take place.

Should I put a mask on if I see a member of the custodial staff about to enter my office to pick up trash and recycling?

  • Masks should always be worn on campus, except when alone in your office. However, if a member of the custodial staff enters your office please do put on a mask!

Additional Information

ESF Restart Home Admissions, Undergraduate Blackboard Trainings CDC Updates College Commitment Consequences for Violations ESF Student Counseling Services ESF Student Health Portal Event Guidelines Library Updates: Current News New York State Department
of Health
Return to Work Requirements Travel Information (CDC) Travel Information (ESF HR) Daily COVID-19 Screening Form - Employees Virtual Meeting Security