Thursday, September 24, 2020

UW Facilities staff are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting 185 buildings on the Seattle campus. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our custodial staff has worked to ensure clean and safe learning and working environments. This began with a deep cleaning and disinfection of university public spaces in the spring, followed by enhanced cleaning and special project work as campus occupancy remained low over the summer. With the start of autumn quarter, we are once again updating our procedures to best serve the University.

Autumn quarter summary

With some in-person learning resuming on campus, custodial schedules have been rearranged to allow for more frequent cleaning and disinfecting in buildings hosting classes, along with continued cleaning in other occupied spaces. In most cases, classrooms will be cleaned before each class. Unoccupied buildings will be serviced in accordance with their occupancy load and activity.

Staff continue to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently, such as door handles, elevator buttons and stair handrails. Custodians also empty public area waste containers daily and refill more than 2,500 soap dispensers and hand sanitizing stations across campus. 

When confirmed COVID-19 positive cases occur, deep cleaning of affected spaces will be carried out according to EH&S protocols.

The Building Services Department stays in regular contact with University and public health officials and follows Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) disinfection guidelines. Our 270 custodians use EPA-registered disinfectants and Green Seal®-certified cleaning products.

Academic & research buildings in active use

These buildings are higher priority for cleaning as they have a higher level of people using the facility. Spaces within these buildings include classrooms, auditoriums, restrooms, teaching laboratories and other common spaces.

Classrooms are cleaned and disinfected before the start of the first class of the day and then in between classes when able.

  • Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch points in these spaces such as chairs, desks/tables, doors, door handles, light switches, podiums, and other points that a human might touch.
  • In those instances where classes are scheduled back-to-back in the same space, custodians will not be able to clean and disinfect between them.
  • Disinfectant supplies will be supplied in active learning spaces.

Restrooms are cleaned once daily with custodians disinfecting high-touch points a second time.

In research laboratories, custodial staff dust mop daily and spot mop if stains or spills occur. Lab occupants are responsible for lab disinfection.

Other public areas within these buildings (lobbies, common spaces, etc.) are cleaned and disinfected once daily. Custodial staff will also revisit those areas and disinfect high-touch points a second time each day.

Administrative buildings

Public spaces: Custodians clean and disinfect conference rooms, elevators, break rooms and entrances/exits once daily. There is a second disinfection of high-touch points, especially elevator buttons, water fountains, etc., as well.

Restrooms are cleaned once daily and high-touch points will be disinfected a second time.

Offices: Custodians will sweep, vacuum or mop once per week in offices. Occupants will need to disinfect and clean their individual workspaces. This includes: Plexiglass dividers, individual desk spaces, etc.

UW Facilities recommends that all departments purchase single-use disinfectant wipes for human touch points within their workspaces such as keyboards, public counters, credit card readers, phones, and shared surfaces and items. Departments can purchase cleaning items through UW’s Safe and Clean Storefront.

Unoccupied spaces and buildings

Custodial services and waste collection will be focused on the campus facilities that are serving the active campus population. Although daily custodial activities will continue in most facilities, the frequency of cleaning and disinfection will be in accordance with occupancy load and activity. The frequency of exterior waste, recycling, and compost collection will also be in accordance with occupancy load and activity.

For more information on how unused spaces buildings are being identified and handled across the Seattle campus, please see Building systems curtailment and limited access.

For more information