The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health hierarchy of controls framework for potentially harmful workplace hazards has been modified for COVID-19 to identify control strategies to mitigate transmission.
TUC campus controls implemented to mitigate COVID-19 transmission include physical distancing, engineering controls, administrative controls and mandated use of PPE.
Each individual student, faculty, and staff member of the Touro University California community is essential in maintaining campus health and safety. To keep our community safe, campus controls are being implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The campus environment will likely feel quite different for most of us from when we were last here. Each of us is asked to be respectful of our fellow community member’s health and safety and comply with all efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, reporting illness, etc.
Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Because people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, or without ever developing symptoms, it is important to keep your distance from others, even if you have not symptoms or are wearing a face mask. Physical distance is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Informal and formal social gatherings are not allowed at this time.
- TUC requires all faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors to remain six feet apart, minimize group sizes, stay out of crowded places, and avoid gatherings.
- TUC requires that all classes and meetings take place remotely, where possible. For essential classes held on campus, engineering, administrative, and PPE controls will be implemented to maximize social distancing and minimize transmission risk.
- All TUC employees who can carry out their work duties from home have been encouraged to work remotely.
- TUC has closed areas that are used for gatherings such as libraries, gyms, and events centers, among other facilities.
- All non-essential events and gatherings have been cancelled or postponed. Those who believe that an in-person event is essential must complete a form to request an exception. Any exception will need to be pre-approved in writing by the Provost.
- Where possible, desks or individual work stations should be separated by at least 6 feet.
- Install “sneeze” guards/barriers at reception and transaction desks where close-contact interactions occur
- Building traffic flow is being controlled to maximize social distancing.
- Rotating work schedules and/or staggered shifts to reduce work area densities and minimize in-person interactions to the extent feasible
- Rotating employee break schedules to maintain physical separation and reduce break room density
- Focusing break room use on food storage and preparation rather than as communal eating spaces
- Discourage the use of shared work workstations and equipment where feasible
- Establish maximum occupancies for open office seating areas, meeting rooms, copy and print areas, break rooms, lobbies, reception areas and other common areas to support social distancing protocols
- Restricting visitors and guests access to campus
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of both personal-use and shared-use high-touch surfaces
Because COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person, typically through respiratory droplets generated from breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing, and many people transmit the virus when they are symptom-free, the use of face coverings is critical in mitigating the spread of it. TUC requires anyone in a TUC campus space (including campus buildings, campus grounds, shared laboratory areas, conference rooms, etc.) to wear a face mask at all times. The specific face covering that is allowable is dependent upon the activities being engaged in while on campus. Bandanas, neck gaiters, or similar style and material face coverings, and masks that incorporate a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling is not considered an acceptable face covering under TUC policy or regional health orders. Similarly, a face shield cannot be used in lieu of a face covering.
- Employees must wear a cloth face covering or a disposable face mask. A cloth face covering should be worn only for one day at a time. It should be properly laundered or disinfected before use again.
- Students and employees attending hybrid laboratory classes must wear a KN95 mask with a face shield.
- All face coverings must fit over your nose and under your chin and be worn properly with both nose and chin covered.
- Avoid touching the front of your face covering, your eyes, nose or mouth especially when removing your face covering.
- A face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined single office space with the door closed while the office is occupied. Cubicles are not considered confined single office spaces and do not have doors that can be closed.
- A face covering is not required if you are in your car alone in a parking lot with the windows rolled up. If two or more people are in a car on campus then face coverings are required while in the vehicle.
- When eating and drinking a mask may be removed when alone in an enclosed space or when socially distanced in an outdoor space. Communal dining is prohibited on the Touro University Campus.
The use of face coverings does not replace the need to follow social distancing requirements and a minimum 6-feet of separation from others is still required even when wearing a face covering. Because the use of face coverings is required in our county, we ask that employees provide their own face coverings unless you work in a position that dictates the use of a surgical or N95/KN95 mask, in which case TUC will provide these. If an employee or student is unable to wear a face covering due to a pre-existing medical condition (certified by a medical professional), employees and supervisors should contact TUC Student Health (students) or HR (employees) to request an accommodation. Accommodations may include the requirement to wear a plastic face shield.
Gloves: Gloves are not necessary for general employee use according to the Centers for Disease Control. TUC will provide gloves to those personnel with an identified need. If you wish to wear gloves when on campus, please provide your own and dispose of them when finished. Wearing gloves does not eliminate the need to wash your hands even when gloves are on. Do not leave used gloves at your workstation or in other areas—dispose of them after use. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best practice for cleaning your hands. Faculty, staff, and students working in high-risk areas such as Student Health or in laboratories should wear gloves as part of their PPE. Gloves should be worn as prescribed by lab procedures, policies, and normal use situations.
Goggles/Face Shields: You are not required to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activities on campus. Googles and face shields may be appropriate when you are in close contact such as in teaching labs and research labs and will be provided by Touro.
KN95 with Face Shields: All participants in “essential laboratory learning” activities must wear both a KN95 mask and a face shield. Both KN95 mask and face shields will be provided by the program. It is the students responsibility to be good stewards of this critical PPE.
Washing our hands is one of the easiest and most important things we can do to stay healthy and stop the spread of bacteria and viruses. Frequent hand washing is one of the most important protective measures against COVID-19. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the preferred method of hand cleaning. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day—when you arrive to work, before you leave work, before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, etc.
If you do not have access to soap and water, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an acceptable alternative. Hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. TUC has installed hand-sanitizing stations throughout its more heavily trafficked areas and employees are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer with them for use during the day.
Sanitizer Stations - The Facilities Department will maintain hand-sanitizer stations at building entrances, and high-traffic areas. Touro will use and provide products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface.
TUC requires all faculty, staff, students, visitors and workers to observe respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette including covering mouth into elbow when coughing or sneezing and washing hands frequently especially after touching face. TUC Employees are directed not to come to work if they are sick regardless of type of illness. No one with cough or fever should enter TUC facilities.
While the virus is not thought to transmit effectively by a person’s contact with surfaces, current evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces is a best practice measure for the removal of potential pathogens causing COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in our working and living spaces. TUC implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols when the pandemic began. Cleaning and disinfecting processes are consistent with the CDC public health recommendations and OSHA guidelines for disinfection. In addition to routine custodial cleaning, the university has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces in occupied buildings. Touchpoints such as entrance handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables, restroom stall handles/doors are being cleaned at least twice daily, five days a week, using EPA-registered disinfectants. Some areas of the campus, specific to the operation, clean to the standard of their department or unit’s operational needs.
Cleaning. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill or inactivate germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. However, disinfecting a surface after cleaning can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting surfaces. Wear disposable gloves and eye protection when disinfecting surfaces, and ensure the area has good ventilation. If the area does not have good ventilation, disinfect and leave the area until the surfaces have dried. Discard gloves after each cleaning and clean hands immediately. Using paper towels, first clean dirty surfaces with a detergent or soap and water, then carefully apply disinfectant and wipe to evenly distribute the disinfectant. Avoid spraying disinfectant on the surfaces to prevent the creation of aerosols. Allow surfaces to air dry. Discard paper towels and disinfecting wipes into the regular trash. Disinfection frequency depends on the amount of activity in the lab and shared office areas. At the very least, disinfection should occur daily. Custodial services are providing stepped-up cleaning of breakrooms, bathrooms, and other common areas. Contact facilities for details regarding custodial services in your building.
Disinfectants effective against COVID-19. COVID-19 is effectively killed by using 10% freshly prepared bleach, 70% ethanol, or disinfecting wipes. The EPA has provided a helpful list of registered disinfectants effective against the novel coronavirus, including ready-to-use Clorox and Lysol products. Consult the product label for the minimum contact time. Cleaning wipes do not kill the virus, so be sure to use disinfecting wipes and follow the instructions carefully. Disinfecting wipes must remain wet to be effective. Be sure to tightly close the lid when not in use. Due to the novel nature of this virus, COVID-19 may not be listed on product labels at this time. The EPA has an accelerated process in place to allow for novel viruses to be added to product labels.
Surfaces needing disinfection. Highly touched surfaces include hard-backed chairs, desktops, computer keyboards, computer displays, remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, doorknobs, door push plates, card readers, refrigerator/freezer handles, equipment switches, benchtops, biosafety cabinet and fume hood sashes and their working surfaces, biowaste container lids, commonly used hand tools and small objects (pipettors), and shared PPE. Be careful when disinfecting sensitive equipment to prevent the disruption of the equipment. Clean commonly touched surfaces throughout the day including lab benches, lab equipment, desks, phones, remote controls, printers, fax machines, computer mice and keyboards. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels, including wearing disposable gloves where directed.
Everyone on campus is responsible for cleaning and disinfection. It is not possible, however, for TUC to clean and disinfect all areas immediately after occupancy; therefore, all employees play a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, following proper cough and sneeze hygiene, and assisting with campus cleaning and disinfection. To supplement the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols conducted by TUC, employees will be expected to frequently disinfect work and break areas throughout the day using supplies provided by Facilities.
- Faculty and staff offices, suites, cubicle areas and research labs are the responsibility of the occupants to clean. Trash cans must be left outside the door of offices for disposal. The facilities and custodial team will NOT be cleaning desks, keyboards, touch screens, or remote controls. Touro will provide spray bottles of disinfectants and cleaning rags in each building for this purpose. Disinfecting wipes will be provided as available. Vacuuming and cleaning of floors in offices will continue once per week.
- Teaching & Study Spaces (Lecture halls, lab classrooms) will be cleaned twice daily: during the lunch break and at the end of the day. Students will be expected to help sanitize areas used for lab exercises, as directed by course faculty.
- Practice Stations (OMM tables, and Ultrasound stations) will be cleaned at the end of the day. Faculty, staff, and students will be expected to help sanitize areas used for labs.
- Common Spaces (building entries, lobbies, elevators, hallways, restrooms). Lobbies, hallways, and entry areas will be cleaned daily. High Touch surfaces (restrooms, elevators, doors and door handles, light switches, hand railings, sink handles, and grab bars) will be cleaned throughout the day.
- Outdoor items (bicycle racks, doors and door handles, electric chargers, picnic tables, and security blue lights) will be cleaned throughout the day.
- Campus will undergo a deep cleaning during holidays or extended closures.
Buildings in which a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified may be closed for thorough cleaning and disinfection by Facilities which may take multiple days. In general, areas that have been unoccupied for one week or more (7 days) do not require disinfection and enhanced cleaning alone is sufficient. These unplanned building closures will cause business interruption. All departments should prepare for the possibility of temporary building closures and prepare for this potential disruption.
The Facilities Department, in alignment with the guidelines released by the CDC concerning building system operations to stop the spread of COVID-19, as well as guidance from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), is committed to providing the safest environment for students, faculty, staff, patients, and visitors. The guidance from these sources includes increasing the amount of outside air delivered to spaces, using high-efficiency filtration in systems that circulate air around spaces, and maintaining temperature levels within spaces. The University is implementing strategies to comply with these guidelines. The Facilities Department will adhere to ASHRAE published guidance for safe and healthy buildings, emphasizing the close management of indoor air quality.
TUC has designed standard, branded information signage. The signage is focused on behavioral reminders and health information. Durable, professionally printed signs are located throughout campus.
Everyone is expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage, hallways, and similar common use areas. Be mindful to follow the directional signage and be prepared to change your daily routine to adhere to new circulation patterns.
Workplace measures include:
- Visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, and signs indicating to people where they should sit or stand while waiting in line,
- One-directional signage for large open spaces with multiples throughways to increase distance between people moving through a space.