Resources and References
If you have questions after reviewing this website and FAQ page, please complete this form which will then be directed to the appropriate department.
The health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, students continues to be our highest priority in promoting a safe environment upon reopening our campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In anticipation of the decision to reopen our campus, many efforts have been undertaken to develop operational standards to help protect and enhance the educational environment. It is this commitment to safety that is driving our efforts. We are all Bulldogs and will maintain our Bulldog community and spirit upon resuming campus operations during these complex times. Classrooms, residence halls, dining facilities, offices, conference rooms, and common areas are shared spaces, and we must work together to care for our spaces and one another.
VP, Finance & Administration
AVP, Facilities & Operations
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) experts are stating that the COVID-19 virus typically transmits via respiratory droplets through close person to person contact. This drives all the recommended human behavior guidance for reducing transmission such as social distancing, wearing masks, personal hygiene, staying home while sick, and decreasing occupant densities. These experts state that airborne transmission is unlikely, thus it is unlikely that the virus is spread through HVAC systems. Following these recommended guidelines greatly reduces the already low risk of HVAC systems causing spread. Please note that HVAC systems cannot be relied upon to compensate for not following human behavior guidance.
*During the extended winter break of November 25 through January 24, some HVAC air systems operations will be modified to incorporate daily shutdown schedules to better represent true usage of campus spaces during the break and provide an opportunity for energy savings. The setback schedules will be in place across the majority of air systems at most campus facilities. Upon campus reopening on January 25, it is expected that all HVAC air systems return to 24/7 operation.
Air changes per hour (ACH) is defined as the volume of ventilation air that is supplied and removed from the room every hour. The ACH rate varies across campus based on space use type. Laboratories and large event spaces are typically supplied with 6-12 ACH, and office and general classroom spaces are typically supplied with 2-6 ACH, which is consistent with engineering design standards.
The University does not prohibit portable space heating and cooling units, but given COVID-19, the use of high-speed fans should be avoided especially in common areas with the potential of blowing across multiple workstations.
Because of the increased pressure drop associated with HEPA filters, upgrading to HEPA filters is not recommended in most existing HVAC systems. The existing HVAC systems on campus are not capable of running effectively, supplying appropriate airflows, and maintaining appropriate space temperature and humidity with the increased pressure drop of a HEPA filter. Additionally, other than their typical use in cleanrooms in healthcare, HEPA filters are not a common option in commercial facilities. Instead, all central air systems on campus utilize the highest MERV rating the system is capable while still running effectively, which is in the range of MERV 6–MERV 14.
Experts are not supporting any proven protection from the transmission of COVID-19 virus through the use of an additional air purifier in the space.