COVID-19 Resource Center

Cleaning and Facilities Protocols

When the campus transitioned to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Physical Plant began preparing the buildings and campus for the return of faculty, staff, and students for the start of the fall semester. Buildings have undergone deep cleaning, domestic water systems flushed, HVAC systems have been cleaned and serviced, fresh air intakes adjusted to maximize ventilation, new signage, paper towel dispensers and sanitizer dispensers installed throughout campus.

When the Xavier community returns to campus Physical Plant will be engaging in more frequent and robust cleaning protocols. While Physical Plant is committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness across all our campus facilities, returning to campus and reopening our buildings will require adaptations from us all; students, faculty and staff In addition to the work being done by Physical Plant, individuals will be asked to augment our efforts by routinely cleaning and disinfecting their own dorm rooms, workspaces and wiping keyboards, phones and doorknobs, etc. at least once a day. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been distributed at all building entrances, residence halls, classrooms and throughout public spaces as well as within departments.

The new normal is that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting will be done more frequently by Physical Plant to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19. Cleaning in residence halls will be done 7 days a week. Cleaning in academic and administrative buildings will be increased as well. In addition to the normal cleaning, custodial technicians will disinfect and sanitize high contact areas one time during the day and again in the evening.

To learn more about the new cleaning protocols, modifications to the HVAC systems and installation signage and cleaning stations, please read the FAQ below.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Yes.  Having employees and students gone for three months has provided a window of opportunity to do cleaning in all the buildings on campus.  These include, but are not limited to:  

  • Disinfect all touch points - doorknobs, light switches, faucets and handrails, etc.
  • Restrooms - Clean and disinfect
  •  Stairwells - sweep and mop, wax steps.
  •  Offices – clean, detail dust, and sanitize - removed carpet spots, if needed.
  •  Project rooms and classrooms - removed carpet spots if needed.
  •  Public areas and hallways - Scrub and wax floors, removed carpet spots if needed.
  •  Elevators - clean and sanitize

The new normal is that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting will be done more frequently to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19.  Custodial Technicians will disinfect and sanitize high contact areas one time during the day and again in the evening.  Scope includes:

Public Spaces:

  • Railings
  • Handles, knobs, buttons – Door handles, doorknobs, elevator buttons, push plates, and crash bars on doors
  • Automatic door openers
  • Light switches
  • Counter tops / tabletops
  • Lounges – Television buttons, remotes
  • Vending machines
  • ATM’s buttons
  • Refrigerator / microwave handles in lunchrooms
  • Chairs
  • Telephones

Bathroom Spaces - Clean/Disinfect/Sanitize:

  • Toilet rooms to be clean, disinfected and sanitized one time during the day and again in the evening.  Scope includes:
  • Toilet, handle and seat
  • Toilet partitions
  • Urinals
  • Sink counter, bowl and faucets
  • Soap dispensers
  • Paper towel dispenser
  • Toilet paper dispenser
  • Waste basket
  • Floors

Electrostatic spraying to be done each week:

  • Classrooms
  • Labs
  • Project work rooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Library tables and seating
  • GSC Food court
  • Lounges, seating areas
  • Toilet rooms
  • Offices (private and open areas)

Faculty, Staff and Students will be asked to augment our efforts by routinely cleaning and disinfecting their own workspaces and wiping keyboards, phones, light switches and doorknobs, etc. at least once a day

The recommended best practice is for faculty, staff, and students to clean and sanitize surfaces and equipment in their own workspace, classroom or lab, as appropriate, throughout the day. Spray bottles with disinfectant along with hands-free paper towel dispensers have been installed in all classrooms, project work rooms, conference rooms and within department spaces across campus.  These supplies are available through the building coordinator. 

Yes.  Regular hand washing is a best practice recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of germs.  Soap and paper towels are supplied in all toilet rooms.  Hand sanitizer is located at all building entrances, classrooms and labs, hallways and department office and reception areas.

As we prepare to return to campus during COVID-19, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are on the top of concerns being expressed by students, faculty, and staff.  New procedures have been initiated by our own staff and our contract cleaning partners, but to be successful in our efforts, we will also need the assistance of students, faculty, and staff in keeping things clean. 

Physical Plant has placed hundreds of hand sanitizer dispensers on campus and installed over 1,100 cleaning stations which consist of a hands-free paper towel dispenser and a disinfectant spray bottle.  A big part of our success will be keeping these dispensers and cleaning stations properly stocked and that requires products be readily available.

Filling and replenishing of cleaning supplies in classrooms and laboratories will be handled by our contract cleaning partners, SBM and APEX.  This work will be done periodically throughout the day.

Physical Plant is asking for Faculty and Staff to for their assistance in spaces other than classrooms and labs. We will ask individuals who encounter a device that is empty to contact their building coordinator for a refill for them to install.

Download Cleaning Supply Order Form

No.  When the spraying the bottle should be aimed downward in a 90-degree angle to avoid contact to the eyes.  Once the surface is sprayed, simply wipe the surface with a paper towel.  Gloves are not needed.

Please refer to the document named XU Partners Standard Operating Procedure for protocols to clean, sanitize, and disinfect a space that was occupied by someone that was tested COVID-19 positive.

Physical Distancing

Complying with social distancing is the responsibility of everyone on campus. To limit individual exposure to coronavirus, the CDC recommends keeping at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) between yourself and other people outside of your home and no gathering of groups. To put this into practice on campus we have implemented the following in public campus spaces:

  • Xavier Yard (outdoor): large circles for seating areas have been measured at least 6’ apart and marked on the lawn areas.
  • Building entrances: all building lobbies will have entrance and exit signage along with the CDC and Xavier campus guidelines for maintaining distance and a healthy environment.
  • Reception and Retail desks: all reception counters will have Plexiglas screens installed to limit the potential spread of droplets that can occur during face-to-face interactions.  In addition, any areas for potential queueing (reception desks, retail check-outs, dining, etc.) will have floor signage indicating the 6’ distance to avoid crowding. 
  • Elevators: signage will be installed at all elevators encouraging limited occupants of elevators and recommending the use of stairs if able.  Priority use of elevators should be for the mobility impaired.
  • Learning spaces: New furniture layouts have been created for all learning spaces to meet minimum 6’ social distancing requirements.  The density in these spaces has been reduced and excess furniture has been removed where applicable. 
  • Lounges and dining areas: furniture layouts have been modified to keep 6’ minimum distance between tables and furniture sets.  Excess furniture has been removed where applicable. 

Sign Decals Available

The capacity in each classroom and lab has been reduced to provide 6’ social distance for each occupant in the room. Furniture has been removed and markings installed on the floor indicating the position of furniture. In addition, signage indicating where students should sit will be added to tabletops to ensure the 6’ separation during classes.  Faculty zone has been demarcated on the floor to provide 6’ separation from students.  In the cases where 6’ distance cannot be achieved due to laboratory equipment or instructional practices, additional Plexiglas dividers or PPE will be utilized.

In areas where frequent, brief, close interaction between individuals may occur, Plexiglas counter shields have been installed to protect faculty, staff and students. Floor markings indicating where to stand have been placed 6’ apart.

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Plant has implemented a three-level approach to use during COVID-19. 

  1. The amount of fresh air ventilation has been maximized at the air handling units. This limits the amount of air being recirculated in the spaces. 
  2. The level of filtration has been increased at the air handling units.
  3. The air handling units are running continuously to ensure high levels of air circulation and filtering of air.

The HVAC systems have been cycled on during the remote learning period. Beginning in mid-June the buildings have been undergoing a flushing and are now operating continuously.  All regular preventative maintenance (PMs) were performed, and the inside of units were serviced and wiped clean per the standard maintenance protocols. New air filtration has been installed.

The large residence halls (Kuhlman, Husman, Brockman, Buenger, Justice Hall) operate with large HVAC systems, but other campus residences utilize residential HVAC systems that do not bring in outside air as part of normal heating and cooling operations.

This campus housing includes: houses along Dana Avenue, the Commons, and the Village (as well as University Station, which is not Xavier campus housing).

With the University’s goal of providing the highest levels of outdoor air, occupants may experience slightly warmer/cooler space temperatures depending on the season.

Getting fresh air is very important, but opening the windows is not the way to do it. Some people have the mistaken idea that our buildings are “sealed” and the only way to get fresh air is by opening the windows, but that is not true. Our buildings get fresh air via outdoor air intake louvers that connect to the air handlers. This fresh air enters through the outside air intake louvers and is then distributed to the entire building, not one room like an open window would do. But the main advantage is not only better distribution but conditioning the air before it reaches the occupied space. In addition to better distribution and being conditioned, the fresh air also passes through filters that remove pollen and other air-borne particles from the outside air before reaching the space and building occupants.

Providing conditioned air to the building is critical in providing a healthy and comfortable space. Opening windows will allow unconditioned air into the building. By opening a window during the cooling season for example, hot and humid air will enter the building. This warm moist air will begin to condense on the chilled water piping that is provide cooling to the space causing condensation to form which will cause water will to drip and lead to mold. In addition to being unhealthy, the space will be uncomfortable.

Under normal conditions the buildings are operated per code. During the COIVD-19 period, we have increased the amount of outdoor air to the maximum level.

Plumbing FAQ

No, water has remained operational in all buildings across campus, and facilities has been flushing water in the buildings at regular intervals since campus closed.  Shower heads in residential buildings have been sanitized.  Water treatment consultants have also been engaged to ensure the water on campus is safe.

According to the CDC COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. Local municipalities filtering and treatment should remove or inactivate the virus.  As a further precaution, drinking fountains across campus have been taken out of service and should not be used.  Bottle fillers will remain in operation.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the virus can spread to people through water.  Additionally, the chlorine levels in the pool would render the virus inactive. The chemical levels in the pool are checked daily.

Free standing ice machines in Hoff Dining have been cleaned, flushed and sanitized.  Large ice machines with ice dispensers in the residence halls have been cleaned, flushed and sanitized.

Ice makers on refrigerators with through-the-door dispensers will be in service. Ice makers on refrigerators with bins have been disabled per CDC guidelines with a note on the refrigerator door.


All restrooms have new touch-free paper towel dispensers.   Hands free flush valves have  been  installed in public restrooms.

In restrooms without a divider and less than 6 feet between stalls, a toilet fixture has been taken out of service to provide distancing. In addition, toe pulls have been added to restroom doors to minimize touch points after restroom use.  See the "Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting" FAQ section for how restrooms are being cleaned.

Traffic Flow

The recommended best practice from the state of Ohio is to modify access points to one-way entrance/exit.  In high traffic access points on campus, signage for one-way entrance/exits have been installed for buildings and interior spaces that have more than one way in or out of the room.  (I.e. classrooms that have 2 entry doors).