Preparations continue for a safe return to campus

As the city and state prepare to enter Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan tomorrow, UIC continues to prepare for the return to campus by students, faculty, and staff. This includes ensuring that its 14 million square feet of building space is clean, disinfected and ready for use.

During phases 1-3 of the plan, OVCAS Facilities Management’s (FM) building service workers (BSWs) operated at reduced staffing levels due to the closure of campus buildings, including classrooms, labs and offices. Along with their regular maintenance responsibilities, BSWs have focused on the cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas and surfaces in indoor spaces used by essential workers. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handrails and desks, which have been disinfected with the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of approved products for COVID-19.

As UIC staff begins a phased-in return to campus, FM has increased its BSW staffing to 90% of normal levels. This will increase to 100% when we transition to Phase 4. Additional cleaning and disinfection of common areas and high-usage locations will be provided based on increased occupancy, along with more restroom and common area cleaning and disinfecting. BSWs will also begin to perform tasks that were postponed due to reduced staffing, such as cleaning hallways, stairwells and building entrances as building occupancy warrants. They will also continue to follow established service level protocols for cleaning in research areas and laboratories.

FM has also secured the services of an outside vendor to perform deep cleaning in potentially contaminated areas where a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been reported. Instructions for how to request deep cleaning in these circumstances are being finalized and will be shared in the coming weeks. Work areas and private offices that have been locked or inaccessible since the stay-at-home order will not require deep cleaning prior to reentry.

OVCAS is also coordinating the central warehousing and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for campus units as their employees return to work. Reusable masks will be provided to all employees, work areas will be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and hand sanitizer stations will be established.

COVID-19 safety signage has been created by the OVCAS Planning, Sustainability and Project Management (PSPM) team, and will be placed in university buildings. PSPM has also created more than 45 classroom floor plans that provide social distancing and ensure classroom spaces are safe for students and instructors when they return to campus in the fall.

As a reminder, to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, mask wearing will be required in all campus and office public areas and frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer is strongly encouraged.

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