Enhanced Disinfection and Cleaning

As part of the college's Together, Columbia campaign to promote the health and safety of the campus community, the campus is regularly cleaned and disinfected.

What Columbia is doing:

  • Frequent disinfection and cleaning of our facilities is an ongoing feature of our facilities maintenance program.
  • All facilities, offices, studio spaces, break rooms, classrooms, lobbies, elevators, and restrooms receive comprehensive daily cleanings and disinfection according to CDC guidance.
  • College cleaning crews clean high-touch surfaces several times a day using a disinfection solution. These include cleaning light switches, doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, faucets, dispensers, toilet handles, refrigerator handles, and microwave doors.
  • Air-conditioning and heating ducts are inspected and cleaned.
  • OSHA recommended high-capacity air filters have been replaced on all systems.
  • There are nearly 200 hand sanitizing stations available across campus.
  • All bathroom faucets are now touchless.
  • Special sanitizing protocols are in effect when instructional equipment and library books are being checked out and returned.

What you should do:

  • Members of the campus community are encouraged to avail themselves of wipes and disinfectants that the college provides in learning spaces, workstations, restrooms, and other areas so they can clean tools, other equipment, and office technology such as keyboards and phones that are shared.
  • Keep workstations clear of items at the end of the work day.
  • Employees and students are also encouraged to use DIY cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces and other areas as they choose.

Air Assessment
The mechanical systems and HVAC expert retained by the college, RAM Mechanical Services Inc, has completed its air assessment. There were two components to RAM Mechanical’s analysis:

Examination of 135 air handling units at Columbia
These represent the totality of the HVAC units that serve all occupied (non-IT or non-mechanical spaces) spaces on campus. RAM experts inspected and surveyed all units to verify fresh air ductwork and volume dampers were present in each of the listed pieces of equipment. All dampers were verified to be functional and operational, and filters inspected to be properly installed and clean. In 1014 S. Michigan, one unit, which only serves part of the fourth floor and two instructional spaces, had a lower performance and was flagged for remediation. A second unit in the same building, which does not serve instructional spaces, also had a lower performance and will be remediated.

Air assessment of spaces slated for higher-aerosol activities
CDC guidance encourages organizations to review standards published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in assessing ventilation. ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2019 (“Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality”) establishes recommended thresholds, taking into account room size, occupancy, and planned activities.

On the advice of our epidemiology and infection control experts from Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago, the college decided, as an added precaution, to conduct an additional air assessment for some campus spaces. This assessment focused largely on rooms that are home to activities that bring higher potential risk for COVID-19 spread.

RAM Mechanical determined that all of the more than 70 instructional spaces examined exceed the ASHRAE standards, with the exception of the two rooms at 1014 S. Michigan noted above. These rooms are served by the same air handling unit and will be addressed.

UVGI installation
UVGI installation has been completed in the dance building (1306 S. Michigan), the theatre building (72 E. 11th), as well as the movement spaces at 916 S. Wabash. Installation is expected to be complete at the Media Production Center (1600 S. State) before the end of the weekend. UVGI installation has already begun in the music building (1014 S. Michigan) and will be followed by the lower level Audio Arts & Acoustics facilities at 33 E. Ida B. Wells. Because some spaces at 1104 S. Wabash, 618 S. Michigan, and 754 S. Wabash were only included in UVGI because of possible use for performances in future semesters, that work will take place last.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as we finalize these last elements of our COVID-19 safety plan and proceed with in-person instruction knowing these extra precautions have been implemented.