Actions Taken by Facility Services to Prepare for Fall 2020
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
Bates has a portfolio of approximately 90 buildings on campus covering academic, athletic, residential, student, and administrative facilities, with over 1.6 million square feet. Like many New England small colleges, there is a mix of larger and smaller, newer and older structures with a similar systems mix. Modifications to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, where possible, are underway. In 14 buildings representing approximately 700,000 square feet we have increased the filter ratings to minimum efficiency rating value (“MERV”) level 13 or higher, deemed by ASHRAE to be efficient at capturing airborne viruses. Where possible we will be increasing both outside air intake and overall air circulation through our installed systems, balanced within other operating parameters of noise, static pressure, and outside conditions.
Looking across our core campus facilities over 70% of the Bates facilities, by square footage, are serviced by air handlers of one type or another, and over 50% of Bates’ square feet are in facilities that have filtration of MERV-13 or better. Our academic spaces in particular are almost entirely (over 90%) serviced by air systems, and nearly 70% of those square feet have MERV-13 rated filters. Over 75% of the space in athletics facilities are serviced by systems using MERV-13 filters. Our student housing is a set of over 30 buildings. Approximately a quarter of our students are in buildings with the MERV-13 filters, and approximately half of our students are in beds with air handlers and systems of some kind. Student residence houses and buildings have operable windows for fresh air circulation.
Facility Services is providing standard signage throughout the campus regarding required distancing including: “please wait here” floor signs, face coverings, hand washing, hygiene, and other CDC recommended guidelines. We are working with college leadership to determine occupancy ratings of spaces where needed and posting signage accordingly.
Cleaning of Campus Facilities
Facility Services provides custodial services on campus in accordance with CDC recommendations. Cleaning protocols include the use of hospital-grade disinfectants and EPA-registered products, applied with the proper dwell time to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Routine disinfection of high-touch surfaces reflects best practices and includes door handles, light switches, and handrails with an enhanced focus on common-use areas, such as restrooms, lounges, kitchens, hallways and conference rooms. We have installed more than 250 additional hand sanitizer dispensers to ensure they are widely available on campus in convenient locations. Please note that the white dispensers contain soap (near sinks) and the yellow dispensers contain hand sanitizer, located on walls throughout campus.
Facilities Services will prioritize particular areas to ensure that custodial services will be able to provide a once daily cleaning and disinfection in critical spaces. Our top priorities include the Testing Center in Underhill Arena, academic classrooms and labs, and dining. These are followed by student housing, academic support services, administrative buildings, and co-curricular program spaces.
In an effort to reduce risk to faculty, staff, and custodians, individual offices on campus will not be actively serviced by our custodians as they have been in the past. Office occupants will be asked to empty their own trash and recycling in a central collection location, and to use the cleaning kits provided for their spaces. Office cleaning may be requested by exception by submitting a work request, and a custodian will be scheduled to clean during a time when the office is unoccupied.
Community Kits and Hand Washing Reminders
In addition to the comprehensive cleaning regimen provided by our custodial staff, we have provided cleaning kits and/or buckets of disinfecting wipes for “self help” community cleaning efforts. Instructions for use are included with every kit. These cleaning kits or wipes will be distributed to classrooms and lab spaces and to each building floor in residence halls, administrative office buildings, and in co-curricular program spaces. It is not practical to provide these in every room and space on campus, and we will call on the community to ensure kits are returned to common locations for community use.
It bears repeating that good hand hygiene is a cornerstone of public health. Using the hand sanitizer provided on campus or washing hands thoroughly, before and after touching shared surfaces, is better for both individual and community health. Examples of shared surfaces range from copier machines to door knobs to refrigerator handles.
Facility Services is working closely with Dining, Conferences, and Campus Events to increase the number of trash collection bins in outdoor areas and residence halls to anticipate the additional waste from the Dash grab-and-go dining for students. We have increased the number of dumpsters on campus and the frequency of collection service. In residence halls, students will be responsible for emptying their own trash in central trash collection areas, and custodians will be responsible for removing the trash to dumpsters or staging the trash and recycling for pick up by our trash truck service where a dumpster is not readily available. Consistent with our commitment to the environment, grab-and-go food containers are made from 100% recycled paper, and where possible we will recycle what can be recycled. We will retain our recycling bins and remind our entire community of the importance of ensuring proper sorting of trash and recycling to avoid contamination of recyclables—when a recycling container is contaminated by liquids, food, and non-recyclable trash, the entire container is unable to be recycled.
The college takes great pride in its campus and green spaces. In the coming days, additional outdoor furniture will arrive, and non-traditional teaching spaces will take shape. The grounds team will be working with custodial and other Facility Services teams to maintain outside spaces. Many hands make light work, and we will be asking the community to avoid moving furniture and to ensure that waste gets to appropriate trash collection areas.
Plexiglass shields have already been provided by Facility Services for many transactional areas where distancing is difficult to maintain. Other physical barriers may also be appropriate and will be evaluated through a work request submission after all operational controls have been considered. Please see this link for a list of potential operational controls and considerations.