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Cleaning Protocols

See Current Re-opening Plan Document #7 May 18 2021


Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening SOUTHWEST that will require careful planning. Every American has been called upon to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing and prevention hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing face coverings. Everyone also has a role in making sure our communities are as safe as possible to reopen and remain open.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each product has been shown to be effective against viruses that are harder to kill than viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.

These protocols are focused on institutions of higher education.

Definitions from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals, for example EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
  • Hard (non-porus) Surfaces
  • Soft (porus) Surfaces
  • Electronics
  • Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry
  • Personal Protective Equipment )PPE) and Hand Hygiene
  • Determine what needs to be disinfected
  • Restrooms, Elevators, and External Doors
  • Student Success Offices
  • Classrooms
  • Laboratories
  • Learning Resource Center
  • Bookstore
  • Student Lounge/Common Areas/Cafeteria
  • Physical Plant

  • How to Clean and Disinfect

    Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective
      • A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.

    Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

    • Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
    • Ensure adequate ventilation
    • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
    • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
    • Avoid mixing chemical products
    • Label diluted cleaning solutions
    • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets

    You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.

    See the following “EPA’s 6 steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant

    6 Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use

      • Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite, or concentration of 5%–6%.) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water
    • SOUTHWEST housekeeping staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

    Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

    • Keep hand sanitizers away from fire or flame
    • Always store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and pets
    • Follow normal preventive actions while at work, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Additional key times to clean hands include:
        • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
        • After using the restroom.
        • Before eating or preparing food.
        • After contact with animals or pets.
        • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance such as a child.

    Soft (Porous) Surfaces

    • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

     

    Electronics

    • For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls, remove visible contamination if present.
      • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
      • Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
      • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

    Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

    • In order to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
    • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene

    • The risk of exposure to cleaning staff is inherently low. SOUTHWEST Housekeeping staff should wear disposable gloves for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
      • Gloves should be compatible with the disinfectant products being used.
      • Additional PPE might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
      • Gloves should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean hands after removing gloves.
      • Reusable (washable) clothing should be laundered after cleaning and disinfecting. Clean hands after handling dirty laundry.
    • Gloves should be removed after cleaning a room or area. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • SOUTHWEST Housekeeping staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
    • Follow normal preventive actions while at work, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Additional key times to clean hands include:
        • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
        • After using the restroom.
        • Before eating or preparing food.
        • After contact with animals or pets.
        • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance such as a child.

     

    Determine what needs to be disinfected

    Following your normal routine cleaning, you can disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects using a product from EPA’s list of approved products that are effective against COVID-19.

    These questions will help you choose appropriate disinfectants.

    Are you cleaning or disinfecting a hard and non-porous material or item like glass, metal, or plastic?

    Consult EPA’s list of approved products for use against COVID-19. This list will help you determine the most appropriate disinfectant for the surface or object. You can use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Pay special attention to the personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be needed to safely apply the disinfectant and the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning any additional hazards. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Please visit CDC’s website on How to Clean and Disinfect for additional details and warnings.

    Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will need routine cleaning and disinfection following SOUTHWEST’S reopening are:

    • tables
    • doorknobs
    • light switches
    • pencil sharpeners
    • erasers
    • countertops
    • handles
    • desks
    • phones
    • keyboards
    • toilets
    • faucets and sinks
    • touch screens

    The SOUTHWEST campus has different surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by multiple people. Appropriately disinfect these surfaces and objects.

    Are you cleaning or disinfecting a soft and porous material or items like carpet, rugs, or seating in areas?

    Soft and porous materials are generally not as easy to disinfect as hard and non-porous surfaces. EPA has listed a limited number of products approved for disinfection for use on soft and porous materials. Soft and porous materials that are not frequently touched should only be cleaned or laundered, following the directions on the item’s label, using the warmest appropriate water setting.

    Consider the resources and equipment needed

    Keep in mind the availability of cleaning and disinfection products and appropriate PPE. Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs.

    Cleaning and Disinfection

    SOUTHWEST’s housekeeping staff will continue to deep clean and disinfect the following:

    • Biology and chemistry labs - cleaned daily, all table tops are wiped down, and floors cleaned as needed but no less than once a week.
    • Welding, automotive, and precision machining labs- cleaned daily, tables and surfaces wiped down and floors cleaned as needed but no less than once a week. Floors swept daily.
    • Classrooms - pencil sharpeners are wiped daily, erasers cleaned once a week, all carpet vacuumed 3 times a week, white boards cleaned daily, file cabinets, bookcases, and desks are dusted daily, tables and desks cleaned daily.
    • Restrooms – Deep cleaned daily with all supplies refilled as needed. Spot checks are performed routinely to ensure clean and sanitary conditions. Faucets and sinks are cleaned daily.
    • Office and private spaces - cleaning which includes desks, computers and telephones wiped down will be the responsibility of the employee at the end of the day and after each visitor.

     

    Business Hours Cleaning and Disinfection

    In order to maintain a clean and disinfected campus environment, during business hours the following procedures should be followed once we have transitioned any or all of SOUTHWEST’s operations back to campus.

    While the process of deep cleaning will occur daily, SOUTHWEST employees must take on some additional cleaning duties as assigned.  In cases where medical conditions prevent employees from being around cleaning products, the employees should notify their supervisors of any concerns so that reasonable accommodations can be arranged.

     

    SOUTHWEST Restrooms, Elevators and External Doors

    SOUTHWEST housekeeping will perform deep cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms, door handles, stair and elevator rails, and elevators buttons routinely throughout the day.

    SOUTHWEST Student Success Offices (including faculty offices where students visit)

    • Staff should inspect the student side of any protective barriers in place.  If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces should be cleaned using the soap and water solution prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched should be disinfected by using disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes. These surfaces may include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, etc.
    • For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. If sprays are used, lightly spray the alcohol and dry thoroughly.
    • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

    SOUTHWEST Classrooms (including classrooms with computer labs)

    • Staff should inspect the classroom.  If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces should be cleaned using the soap and water solution prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched should be disinfected by using disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes. These surfaces may include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, etc.
    • For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. If sprays are used, lightly spray the alcohol and dry thoroughly.
    • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

    SOUTHWEST Laboratories

    • All laboratories where students meet with faculty or staff will be supplied with cleaning and disinfection supplies, in the form of spray bottles and paper towels or disinfectant wipes. In addition, a spray bottle for soapy water will be placed in every laboratory.
    • The division dean can create a schedule for each lab space to ensure that cleaning duties are assigned and cleaning is occurring throughout each day between lab sessions.
    • The division administrative assistant should be designated to make sure supplies are available. Contact maintenance to secure additional supplies.  Due to supply-chain demands, supplies are subject to availability.
    • After every lab session, the faculty or staff member should put on disposable gloves. SOUTHWEST also recommends putting on a disposable mask or a cloth face covering.
    • The faculty or staff member should inspect the classroom. If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces should be cleaned using the soap and water solution prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched should be disinfected by using disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes. Housekeeping will be responsible for tables, doorknobs, light switches, desk, countertops, etc.  Faculty/staff will be responsible for specialty equipment, handles, faucets, sinks, etc.
    • Many labs already have protocols for cleaning equipment after student use. Remember that COVID-19 requires disinfection as well.  Review any laboratory procedures and modify them to include disinfecting protocols.
    • For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. If sprays are used, lightly spray the alcohol and dry thoroughly.
    • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
    • If the industry/institution for which students in a laboratory session are preparing to enter will reasonably require employees to use specific protocols for cleaning and disinfecting, the SOUTHWEST employee teaching the lab can incorporate cleaning and disinfecting objectives into the lab.
      • Students should be first shown how to properly clean and disinfect any equipment or tools.  Then, the student should be assessed to be certain they are performing the activities in a suitable manner.  The lab instructor must observe students to be sure they continue to follow proper protocols.
      • In these cases, the instructor should provide students with the industry/institutional standards, and document when task training is complete with each student.

    Learning Resource Center

    • Staff will inspect the areas of the LRC used by students. If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces should be cleaned using the soap and water solution prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched should be disinfected by using disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes. These surfaces may include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, etc.
    • For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. If sprays are used, lightly spray the alcohol and dry thoroughly.
    • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

    SOUTHWEST Bookstore

    • The SOUTHWEST Bookstore will be supplied with cleaning and disinfection supplies, in the form of spray bottles and paper towels or disinfectant wipes. In addition, a spray bottle for soapy water will be provided in the bookstore.
    • The Bookstore Manager can create a schedule to ensure that cleaning duties are assigned and cleaning is occurring throughout each day.
    • Each morning, someone from the SOUTHWEST Bookstore should be designated to make sure supplies are available. Contact facilities to secure additional supplies.  Due to supply-chain demands, supplies are subject to availability.
    • Approximately every hour, a bookstore employee should put on disposable gloves. SOUTHWEST also recommends putting on a disposable mask or a cloth face covering.
    • The employee should inspect the areas of the bookstore used by students. If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces should be cleaned using the soap and water solution prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched should be disinfected by using disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes. These surfaces may include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, etc.
    • For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. If sprays are used, lightly spray the alcohol and dry thoroughly.
    • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

    Student Lounge/Common Areas/Cafeteria

    • The SOUTHWEST housekeeping staff will clean and disinfect the Student Lounge, Common Areas, and Cafeteria throughout the business day.
    • At regular intervals and at least daily, the housekeeping staff will disinfect hard (non-porous) surfaces. If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces will be cleaned using soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where students may have touched will be disinfected. These surfaces may include tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, etc.

     

    Physical Plant

    • The SOUTHWEST housekeeping staff will clean and disinfect the Physical Plant daily.
    • Daily, the housekeeping staff will disinfect hard (non-porous) surfaces. If surfaces are visibly dirty, the hard (non-porous) surfaces will be cleaned using soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Next, all hard (non-porous) surfaces in the area where staff may have touched will be disinfected. These surfaces may include indoor and outdoor tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, etc.

     

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