Cleaning & Disinfecting FAQ
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 at VCU
Q: What is being cleaned and how frequently to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: The university’s custodial staff are frequently cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces (i.e., frequently touched surfaces), such as door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, restroom surfaces, railings, water fountains and tables, in common areas of buildings, including offices and facilities staffed by Physical Plant operations employees (e.g., Operations Center and maintenance shops). High-touch surfaces that are being cleaned do not include electronics (e.g., computer monitors, keyboards, computer mice and telephones) in office spaces. Students and employees are responsible for disinfecting personal work spaces, rooms and shared surfaces before and after use. Disinfectant materials are provided in classrooms and most common areas – continue reading for more information.
In most VCU facilities, custodial staff who previously worked during the night shift performing heavy cleaning tasks, such as scrubbing floor surfaces, have been reassigned to the day shift to focus on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
Q: What cleaning product is custodial staff using to clean high-touch surfaces?
A: Custodial staff are using Virex® II 256, a disinfectant cleaner concentrate, to clean high-touch surfaces. Virex kills 99.9% of microorganisms on contact and is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against coronavirus. Surfaces cleaned with Virex remain clean until they are exposed to new microorganisms, which is why it is important for you to keep your hands clean, use a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and wear your face covering in VCU facilities.
Q: What resources are provided to help me prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: Hand sanitizer stations are provided in most common areas of facilities. Handwashing with soap, which is provided in all restrooms on campus, and water for 20 seconds remains the most effective way to protect yourself.
Cleaning supply stations with disinfectant materials (wipes and spray) are available in classrooms and most common areas. RTCC and/or building managers are helping maintain disinfectant supplies, as supplies allow.
At the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, each returning student and employee received a starter supply kit with launderable face masks, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer and safety information. Students and employees can obtain replacement kits at Cary Street Gym, Hunton Student Center, Larrick Student Center and University Commons, while supplies last. Replacement supplies can also be obtained in vending machines located throughout campus.
Q: Who do I notify if a hand sanitizer station or disinfectant station needs to be replenished?
Contact your RTCC. Visit the Return to Campus Implementation Plan web page for a list of RTCCs and contact information.
Q: How can I help keep facilities clean?
A: Follow hygiene best practices, including:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Wearing your face covering in VCU facilities. Make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
- Applying disinfectant to personal work spaces, rooms and shared surfaces before and after use.
Together, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other microorganisms by following hygiene best practices.
Q: How will I know when a space has been cleaned and disinfected after potential exposure to COVID-19?
A: Any space that is potentially exposed to COVID-19 by an individual who tested positive for the virus will be closed to the public immediately and signage will be posted to prevent entry until the space has been cleaned and disinfected.
Q: How will VCU clean and disinfect a space after potential exposure to COVID-19?
A: VCU is following applicable guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding isolation, cleaning, disinfection and the protection of students, employees and the public. EPA-approved cleaners (e.g., Virex) effective against the coronavirus are being used across campus to reduce the risk of infection.
Custodial staff will employ a two-step cleaning and disinfection process. The first step is cleaning which removes dirt and impurities (i.e., germs) from surfaces and decreases their numbers. The second step is disinfection which uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Combined, these processes remove and kill germs on a surface to reduce the risk of spreading infection.
Any trash or refuse in the space will be double bagged and removed for disposal. Custodial staff will confirm with VCU Facilities Management once the cleaning and disinfection process is complete prior to reopening the space.
Additional precautions are being employed as cases are confirmed.
Q: What about the rest of the building?
A: Custodial staff will also clean and disinfect public areas, high-touch surfaces and pathways in and out of the areas where the ill person resided.
Q: Will Physical Plant operations employees respond to maintenance requests?
A: Yes, Physical Plant operations employees will respond to routine and emergency maintenance requests as necessary.
If emergency maintenance must be performed in a space with a student who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-quarantined due to exposure, operations employees will respond using an alpha kit. The kit consists of personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., face covering, gowns and gloves) and instructions on how to properly put on, remove and dispose of the PPE, in compliance with the CDC’s guidelines. Supervisors have been provided with additional guidance to ensure employees follow proper PPE procedures and must accompany an employee to an impacted space, but will not enter the space, to ensure these procedures are followed. Employees aged 65 years and older and/or with serious underlying medical conditions will not be asked to respond to these emergency maintenance requests.