Facilities Management is working with spaces across campus to optimize work spaces, common areas, and teaching spaces for social distancing and sanitizing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, In comparison to the volume of fresh air brought in with our spaces at full capacity, we have doubled the volume of fresh outside air brought into the buildings through our ventilation system even though we are at less than half capacity in our spaces.
Based on the CDC and MDH guidelines related to how the virus is spread, our ventilation systems on campus should actually reduce the risk of transmission in our buildings.
Based on the age of the building and use of the building, our ventilation systems vary to some degree but as a general rule, the following things do apply:
Our common areas and learning spaces have been designed to have enough airflow to meet standards to keep the air quality high in the space to reduce the risk of spreading viruses that have been around pre-COVID.
Our common areas and learning spaces will now have 1/3 to 1/2 the design occupancy. We have decided to keep the airflow at full design occupancy levels.
Our common and learning spaces currently receive enough airflow for between 6 and 10 full air exchanges per hour. Some areas have even more. So to put it another way, there is enough airflow to change out all of the air in the room every 6 to 10 minutes.
Based on the system design and space use, there is a computerized program that continually mixes fresh air into the building and exhausts an equal amount to the outdoors.
In discussions with MDH, with distancing and masking practices, they currently do not feel that there would be enough concentration within an aerosolized form to cause an infection.
Our ventilation system has a major dilution effect on any airborne particles. Our exhaust systems in nearly all spaces are in the ceiling which causes a normal updraft rather than pulling horizontally across the room.
The short answer is no, this is highly unlikely.
Here is the longer answer of why not:
The virus would have to be present in an aerosolized form from the cough or sneeze to be able to travel in the air stream. It would then have to travel to a return air vent (usually in the ceiling) being diluted with the other air in the room.
It would then have to travel many feet through ductwork with many changes of direction without falling out along the way as the ductwork extends across the building to our air handler on the roof or in the basement.
Along the way, the air is mixed and diluted further with the air from multiple other spaces returning to the same air handler. This averages between 2,000 and 5,000 cubic feet per minute of air that it would be mixed and diluted with.
A percentage of the air is discharged outside and fresh air is introduced.
The air then passes through at least one and in many cases two sets of high efficiency filters.
It would then would have to weave its way through a heating or cooling coil.
It would then have to travel all the way back across the building through ductwork and get distributed to the various spaces.
Facilities Management will follow the CDC and MDH guidelines on enhanced cleaning practices and will be cleaning and disinfecting the common touchpoints in all public spaces at least once per day (classrooms, bathrooms, lounges, study areas, etc.).
Disinfecting of personal offices will be the occupants responsibility as needed
More frequent disinfecting of spaces as needed or desired will be the responsibility of the individual or department occupying the space.
A bottle of disinfectant and paper towels will be placed in each classroom, lab and office complex along with directions on the best way to use the product.
Disinfectant wipes will be available through Facilities Management on a limited basis for specialized uses such as computer labs, ITS needs and similar applications in which a liquid spray application is not appropriate. If you should have any questions or comments or need supplies, please feel free to contact the Facilities Management Office at 299.3362 and it will get routed to the appropriate individual to help you out.
We have many restrooms with ADA automatic door openers that can be utilized creatively to make it a touchless operation.
We have installed foot pulls at the base of all restroom doors that do not have an ADA operator and do not have a latching mechanism on the door. This allows a person to utilize their feet to pull the door open.
Restrooms that have a latching mechanism on the door cannot be modified due to fire code restrictions. In those cases, we have placed a trash can as close as possible to the doorway to allow a person to utilize a paper towel to open the door.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed at all primary entrances to all buildings on campus.
A small refillable bottle of hand sanitizer will be placed in each office complex for use by occupants of the space and visitors.
The campus will not be providing and stocking within these smaller locations. We are encouraging employees and students to have their own supply of sanitizer with them for use in this type of area if desired.
Plexiglas barriers are being installed at all primary transaction counter areas across campus upon request. When possible, we encourage creative placement of furniture in your space to ensure 6-foot distancing when people enter your space. Facilities can assist in these efforts as well. Contact the Facilities Management Office at 218.299.3362 and it will get routed to the appropriate individual to help you out.
No. Due to lack of storage options, furniture will only be removed in rare situations.
Classroom furniture will be rearranged to accommodate 6-foot distancing between each occupant including the instructor.
Common spaces such as lounges, study areas, etc., seats will be signed as out of order to accommodate 6-foot distancing.
If possible, arrange the furniture to enable 6-foot distancing. If this is not possible, signs to let people know the seating is out of order can be utilized in lieu of removing extra chairs. (A suite of signs is available in CobberNet.)
Due to fire code and other safety considerations, the college will not be implementing one-way hallways, stairwells, and entrances on campus.