Building Cleaning and Disinfection
Updated: August 17
NYU’s cleaning and disinfection protocols are developed in accordance with ongoing and evolving guidance from New York State and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The frequency of cleaning and disinfection is determined in line with the occupancy, risk, and traffic flow of each respective location, and is tailored to each location. According to the CDC, routine cleaning once a day can substantially reduce virus levels on surfaces.
Staff will clean and wipe down high-traffic communal area surfaces (e.g. conference room tables and chairs; pantry room counters, tables, chairs, appliances; and copy machines) once per day during the overnight cleaning.
Personal workspaces will also be professionally cleaned once daily. For employees who wish to clean and disinfect their workspaces, disinfectant spray, wipes and other cleaning supplies can be ordered by individual departments via iBuy.
All restrooms are fully cleaned and disinfected once per day. Restroom Policing—which involves wiping down sinks and countertops, disinfecting high touchpoints, restocking dispensers, emptying trash, and a general inspection of the area—occurs based on occupancy, at a minimum of twice a day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommend using ventilation interventions that can reduce the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
Since Summer 2020, the NYU’s Facilities & Construction Management (FCM) surveyed classroom and work spaces across the Brooklyn and Washington Square campuses and made use of many of those recommended interventions, chief among them the following:
- Increasing the introduction of outdoor air by opening outdoor air dampers;
- Increasing the minimal setting on HVAC systems so that they draw at least 25% of circulated air from outdoors;
- Ensuring ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for different occupancy levels;
- Disabling demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), a change that increases total airflow, in line with the CDC’s recommendations;
Improving central air filtration without significantly reducing design airflow; and
- Making sure that filters are sized properly and up-to-date.
Recommendations for specific MERV ratings for air filtration systems are no longer relevant. These recommendations were made when information about COVID-19 in the air was still limited. Additional data has now shown that the interventions implemented by FCM are adequate to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through HVAC systems and are consistent with what is recommended by CDC and OSHA.
Preferred sanitizing products are on EPA List N and contain one of the following active ingredients: hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, lactic acid, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, peroxyacetic acid, or sodium bisulfate. Though hand sanitizer can be used, the recommended means of hand sanitizing is to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Disinfectant sprays used with a paper towel are preferred over disposable disinfecting wipes. Disinfectant spray products are approved on EPA List N for use against SARS-CoV-2 and are safer for human health. If a disposable wipe must be used, compostable plant-based wipes are recommended. Wipes should not be placed in bathrooms, as they may get flushed and cause sewage problems.