How Are Buildings Being Cleaned

With respect to cleaning and disinfecting, the CDC has concluded that in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low, and the most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer. Irrespective of that conclusion, the University is maintaining a robust cleaning and disinfecting program that meets – and in some areas exceeds – standards issued by the CDC, New York State Department of Health, and OSHA, with a strong focus on frequently touched surfaces.

Columbia Operations uses Genefect to disinfect. Genefect is EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Cleaning high-touch campus public spaces twice daily, surpassing CDC guidelines. High-touch public spaces include doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, light switches, bathroom and locker room fixtures, public phones, and water fountains. Chairs, tables, and computers in public spaces are not maintained by Facilities and Operations.
  • Daily classroom cleaning, including tables, podium/lectern areas, floors, chair armrests, door handles and glass, blackboards, erasers and chalk trays, and emptying recycling and trash
  • Additional inspection of public spaces in all campus buildings. Inspection frequency has been increased to twice daily in lobbies and restrooms, and will include checking and refilling hand sanitizer, soap dispensers, and paper towel and toilet paper dispensers.

Additional Enhancements

In addition to enhanced cleaning, Facilities and Operations has implemented several changes to improve health and safety on campus, including:

  • Converting restroom fixtures to operate automatically. New touchless faucets and flushometers have been installed in academic and administrative buildings where possible to improve restroom hygiene.
  • Installing hand sanitizer stations in campus buildings. Sanitizing dispensers are located in main entrance lobbies, and the number of stations has been increased for all campus buildings.
  • Expanded installation of water bottle filling stations across campus, with 156 buildings now having a water bottle filling station.
  • Augmenting cleaning supplies. Supplies in use are rated to disinfect SARS-COV-2 virus.

How To Clean and Disinfect Your Work Area

Individuals can wipe down and clean their own work area, including:

  • User’s own keyboard, phone, or other office equipment
  • Touch points in teaching labs and classrooms (between classes)
  • Copier and printer surfaces in shared areas
  • Appliances in office kitchens and break rooms
  • Desktops in library, study area, or other rooms

Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect surfaces. Soap and water can be used to clean surfaces to reduce the number of germs, dirt, and impurities. To disinfect a surface, use an EPA-registered disinfectant and follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Please refer to the Central Purchasing website for information on obtaining face masks and cleaning supplies and products.

Disinfecting an Area Exposed to COVID-19

The University follows CDC protocols related to cleaning and disinfecting an area occupied by a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The protocols are detailed in Fact Sheet #19, prepared by Environmental Health & Safety, and are closely connected to the amount of time that has passed since the person with the positive case occupied the space. If a COVID-positive individual is identified in an office, laboratory or other administrative space, the University’s TestTrace team will determine the relevant occupancy information which will inform whether cleaning, disinfection, or both, will be indicated.