Thursday, March 5, 2020

UW Facilities staff clean and disinfect 185 buildings each day. With the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, this page is intended to share how we help keep the campus healthy. 

How UW buildings are cleaned and disinfected

The public touchpoints, classrooms, restrooms and other common areas of the University’s academic, research and administrative buildings are cleaned and disinfected daily by more than 270 custodians. Our staff use hospital grade EPA-registered disinfectants and are trained in safe cleaning procedures. Custodians also empty public area waste containers daily and refill the more than 2,500 soap dispensers and hand sanitizing stations across campus. 

Since the start of flu season in October, custodians have implemented extra measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently. These include surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons and stair handrails. These efforts have been further stepped up to mitigate the risks of any potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

Priority for cleaning continues to be given to public spaces where many people gather. Private offices are cleaned once a week. We recommend that all departments purchase single-use disinfectant wipes for human touch points within their work spaces such as keyboards, public counters, credit card readers, phones, and shared surfaces and items. 

The Building Services Department is in regular contact with University and public health officials and is following CDC disinfection guidelines. Supplemental personnel are on standby should they be needed, including dedicated hazardous and biological material specialists.

How UW shuttles are cleaned and disinfected

The University operates five regular shuttle services, including the Health Sciences Express to local hospitals. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) shuttle regularly provides transport for immune-compromised passengers, and so has always had a higher cleaning protocol than the others. Effective immediately, we are extending this higher-level protocol to all shuttle services. This includes using disinfectant wipes on high-touch surface areas (hand rails and hand holds, arm rests, etc.) at the start, middle and end of each driver’s shift and disinfecting passenger seats once a day. 

Transportation Services is also increasing the frequency of disinfection procedures in parking garages and lots. Public touchpoints such as stair handrails, elevator buttons and door handles will be be cleaned daily and all pay station equipment will be wiped down weekly. 

In the event of suspended operations

UW Facilities staff are considered essential employees. In the event of a decision to suspend campus operations, our staff will continue to provide vital campus services, including:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of campus buildings
  • Heat, cooling and emergency electrical power for the Seattle campus and the UW Medical Center - Montlake
  • Shuttle transport between University hospitals and clinics, including the delivery of medical commodities
  • Maintenance and operations for campus buildings and grounds, including critical repair needs

For more information