COVID-Related Facility Guidance
Do not enter closed facilities or workspaces without explicit authorization.
Link to Current List of Facility/Work Space Closures (UPDATED DAILY)
COVID-19 mitigation strategies for UNM facilities are guided by the Bringing Back the Pack initiative. This web page provides additional guidance for the UNM community if a positive COVID-19 exposure occurs in campus facilities. Refer to the link above to see a current list of facilities that have been closed for cleaning and sanitization.
What to do if an employee or student reports a confirmed COVID-19 exposure in a facility:
- Managers and supervisors are to follow the guidance for confirmed employee exposure outlined in the Return to Campus Guide.
- If the employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, secure the exposed area(s) and post it for no entry (see signage guidelines in the FAQ below). This may be the primary work area (i.e. office), classroom, building floor, or in extreme cases, the entire building.
- Notify the building’s responsible party (i.e. unit supervisor or department head).
- The responsible party contacts Facilities Management (FM) Work Control to create a work order (https://iservicedesk.unm.edu/home.html).
- Work Control will arrange for cleaning of exposed space.
- Work Control will dispatch maintenance personnel to formally close the space and post FM branded closure signage (see signage guidelines in the FAQ below).
- Per CDC guidelines, the area must be secured for 72 hours prior to cleaning (24 hours in areas of critical to university functions)
- Reentry is not permitted during this time and will only be permitted upon receipt of an “All Clear” notification from Work Control.
- Verify the status of the facility here.
Effective date: 10/30/20
For full guidance on what to do for a confirmed exposure, follow the steps outlined above and in the Return to Campus Guide. This guidance is specific to posting signage in affected spaces.
When an exposure is reported:
- Ensure your facility/department leadership is informed of the exposure.
- Once a work order is submitted, FM staff will be dispatched to close off the area and post it for no entry using FM branded signs.
- If you place temporary signage prior to FM’s arrival, please follow the guidelines below:
- Do not post “Area Closed” or “No Entry” type signage at the building entries unless the entire facility has been approved to be closed (approval will be determined in the work order submission process).
- Signage indicting a closure should only be posted at the affected area(s) you are requesting to be cleaned.
- General areas not included in the work order should not be posted as closed. If it is determined that an area is unsafe to enter, it should be included in the work order to be cleaned. Otherwise, unaffected areas should remain open.
- Be careful not to post signage in locations that will cut off access to unaffected areas (such as staircases and passageways) unless those access points are part of the work order.
- If rerouting traffic flows, be conscious of how ADA access may be impacted and accommodate accordingly.
When the area has been cleaned and an “All Clear” notification is received:
- Ensure facility/department leadership is informed of the all clear notification.
- FM will remove signs posted by FM.
- All other signage must be removed by the building occupants. It is vital that these signs be removed as soon as possible to avoid confusion and to restore access to services.
If the exposed facility is your regular workspace, notification should come from your manager or supervisor as directed in the Return to Campus Guide.
For those outside the exposed facility wanting to verify a building status before traveling on campus, FM created a Building/Area Closures for COVID-Related Cleaning web page which shows active closures.
It is also directed in the Guide that FM directly notify service units who travel throughout multiple buildings in their daily duties. FM has created an exposure notification listserv to accomplish this requirement. If you feel such notification is necessary to remain safe in the execution of your normal duties, email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration to be added to the list. NOTE: This list is NOT intended as an all-campus/public notification system or as a first line communication to occupants of an exposed building. It is designed for service providers and department/university leadership to enable them to make decisions on campus operations. As stated above, staff in exposed facilities are to be notified by department/building leadership and the closure web page is available to all other interested parties.
1. Is the SARS 2 virus transferred as a droplet or an aerosol?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that COVID-19 is transferred predominately in a droplet form. The larger droplet form is what makes masks so effective in preventing transfer, wherein the masks are not very effective at filtering smaller aerosol particles such as smoke. Only clinical testing and treatments are believed to cause transfer in an aerosol form. Reference WHO “Modes of Transmission of Virus Causing COVID-19. Updated July 9, 2020.” This is an essential point in evaluating building HVAC systems.
2. Will the building HVAC system circulate the virus to other areas of the building?
If transmission is by an aerosol, then circulation through the building HVAC system is possible. However, a droplet form would be less likely to remain in the air long enough to be drawn into the building HVAC system. Again, this is the rationale behind social distancing to allow the droplets to fall to surfaces. The distancing and cleaning of surfaces is a response to reducing the incident of droplet transfer.
3. Does the building HVAC recirculate air from other building areas, or is it 100% outside air?
Generally, all building HVAC systems, with the exception of some laboratory and specialty spaces, will recirculate approximately 80%-90% of the airflow to each space.
4. Can air filters eliminate virus transfer?
The air filters at the building air handling unit are capable of containing virus droplet-sized particles in the unlikely event that they would reach the filter. However, these filters are not of the HEPA type that would eliminate smaller virus aerosols.
5. Will the amount of outside air being drawn into the building be increased?
Outside airflow to occupied spaces meets or exceeds the minimum circulation rates as recommended by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Increasing outside air during occupied hours beyond current levels is not possible without risking the loss of space temperature control. However, major building HVAC system controls are being modified to provide for a two-hours outside air flush-cycle during unoccupied times as per ASHRAE COVID-19 recommendations.
6. How often does the air change within building spaces?
This quantity differs significantly based upon space type, use and size. Generally, the air volume of a space will change every 6 to 15 minutes (between 4 and 10 air changes per hour).
7. Can portable HEPA filter units be used?
At a department’s discretion and cost, portable HEPA filter units may be provided for individual spaces as long as the room electrical circuits will allow for this additional load. The downside of using these units is that it causes a greater mixing and recirculation of air within the space and may increase the speed of virus transfer initially.
Once a work order is received, for personal safety, custodial staff will wait 72 hours prior to entry into the exposed space. Per the CDC, this isolation period should effectively eliminate the virus. After 72 hours, staff will perform a deep cleaning of all room surfaces using Mark 11 disinfectant to eliminate any remaining traces of the virus. If the nature of the exposure dictates, custodial staff may also use a Total 360 sanitization system which employs an electrostatic mist to provide full coverage of surfaces.