Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfection

How COVID-19 Spreads


The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets entering through the nose, mouth, or eyes. When someone infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets that contain the virus are expelled and can be breathed in by someone nearby. Although the virus cannot enter the body through the skin, the respiratory droplets carrying the virus can get into your airways or mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth to infect you. The virus can also be spread if you touch a surface contaminated with virus and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, although this is not the primary way the virus spreads.


Guidance for Hygiene


After arriving on campus, students, faculty and staff should wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. While on campus continue with good health habits:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds during the time spent on campus is strongly encouraged to reduce contact transmission;
  • Carry a supply of hand sanitizer (as possible);
  • Cover your cough or sneeze;
  • Wipe down all high touch areas in our home and workplace;
  • Do not touch your eye, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • If you have a temperature or feel unwell, stay home.

Hygiene protocols for those coming to campus include:

  • Performing hand hygiene before and after coming in contact with shared objects, such as tools, equipment, machinery, touchscreens, and vehicles, as well as touching shared surfaces;
  • Faculty/Staff should clean personal workspaces (workstations and offices) and personal devices several times throughout the day using disinfecting wipes or 70% isopropyl solution. Workstations and desks must be wiped at the end of working hours.
    • Faculty/Staff with shared offices must develop staggered work schedules. Schedules must allow for a minimum of one hour between the scheduled start and end times as these spaces must be cleaned before and after every use.
  • Faculty/Students/Researchers should clean laboratory benches and equipment used several times throughout their scheduled lab time using disinfecting wipes or 70% isopropyl solution. Labs must be wiped at the end of each scheduled lab session.
    • Lab schedules must allow for a minimum of one hour between the scheduled start and end times as these spaces must be cleaned before and after every use.

Hand Hygiene stations, containing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, will be located in The Graduate Center’s entrance lobby, the loading dock, and within each of the elevator lobbies (floors 1 – 9). As The Graduate Center moves through its phased implementation plan, additional hand hygiene stations will be deployed (e.g. within the library, computer labs, wellness center, the auditorium/theatre lobbies, conference rooms, etc.).


Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting:


Routine cleaning and disinfecting is key to maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, contractors/vendors, and guests. The Graduate Center will ensure adherence to cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and NYSDOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19”.

The Graduate Center’s Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will ensure that daily (or more, depending on use patterns) cleaning and disinfecting takes place. Logs that include the date, time and scope of cleaning and disinfection will be maintained. The cleaning and disinfecting routine will focus on frequently touched surfaces and objects such as:

  • Door knobs and handles;
  • Stair rails (ascending and descending staircases);
  • Office and classroom desks and chairs;
  • Light switches;
  • Push buttons on elevators.

The restrooms have been reconfigured for appropriate social distancing with the reduction of functioning sinks, stalls and urinals to ensure appropriate distancing. A number of restrooms within the facility have been reduced to single use occupancy. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly and more often depending on frequency of use.

Objects such as telephones, desktops, computer keyboards and mice, remote controls are difficult to clean. Shared computers, telephones, and desks will have signs posted instructing proper hand hygiene before and after using them to minimize disease transmission. The Graduate Center will provide on campus workspaces with single use disinfecting wipes to support self-servicing of touch points. Students, Faculty and staff should not bring their own disinfection and cleaning products to campus as these may present additional safety concerns.

In the first four phases of The Graduate Center’s reactivation plan the dining commons and pantries will be closed. Use of appliances and water coolers that have been procured by departments is at the risk of the user. Department appliances (refrigerators, coffee pots, espresso machines, etc.) and water coolers are not included in the routine cleaning of the building. It is the department’s responsibility to clean, maintain and care for these items. Therefore, it is recommended that departments develop guidelines for the community use of these items that include:

  • Good hand hygiene before and after each use;
  • Single person use of appliances, including refrigerators;
  • Daily removal of food/beverages;
  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting of personal dining items such as coffee cups, plates, silverware, etc. Use of disposable dining products is strongly encourage;
  • Use of reusable water bottles.

Water fountains will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Use of water fountains is at the risk of the user. It is recommended that water fountains and coolers be used only to refill reusable bottles.

The Graduate Center will follow CDC guidelines on “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility” if someone is suspected of or is confirmed to have COVID-19. In such instances, areas where the suspected or confirmed case is to have occurred will be closed for a minimum of 72 (seventy-two) hours to allow for a deeper cleaning and disinfection, as well as for a lengthy period of air circulation in the area.