We appreciate the tremendous flexibility everyone is showing as we chart our forward course as a community and make needed adjustments to be together in person again this fall. With the UVMStrong Advisory Committee leading overarching planning for the fall, on-the-ground plans at the departmental level will also help guide the day-to-day functioning in each person's home unit.

These are the multi-tiered work strategies and procedures that will support public-health efforts while providing a warm welcome and vibrant on-campus experience for our students in the fall of 2020. These are based on the OSHA Hierarchy of controls which provides that the most effective protection strategy is to eliminate or reduce the presence of a hazard. Second, we apply work practices to reduce the potential for a person to be exposed to the hazard.  Third we provide engineering controls to dilute or remove hazards. When all other controls are inadequate, we have people wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Hazard Elimination

Health Screening and Testing

Health Screening and Testing reduces the number of infected people contributing to the virus concentration on campus.

COVID-19 testing is the backbone of our strategy for a successful, in-person fall 2020 and is required of students who are on campus and available to employees.

All people on campus will complete a daily screening to establish their risk of spreading the Corona virus. Employees who become symptomatic or test positive and who have been at a UVM facility or activity in previous 14 days must report that information at UVM's contact tracing page. The Center for Health & Wellbeing or the Vermont Department of Health will initiate contact tracing as needed.

De-densification

We are “de-densifying” campus by encouraging people to work and study remotely when appropriate and by reducing the maximum occupancy in our spaces.

For employees this means that many will continue to work remotely, and many classes will be conducted remotely or with fewer in-person students. Information about telecommunting is available from Human Resource Services. Working from home often means less daily movement and the potential for ergonomic injuries; Ergonomics for Telecommuters gives helpful information for setting up a home work environment and other healthy tips.

Schedules will be adjusted to reduce face-to-face interactions and congregating. This may involve spreading out start/stop times to avoid clusters of people arriving/leaving simultaneously; adjusting shift schedules to reduce the number of people sharing work spaces; and alternating break schedules. Employees who are at risk for serious illness from Covid-19, are the primary caregiver for an at-risk person, or who have concerns surrounding pregnancy related to Covid-19 can request ongoing telework or remote teaching (PDF) for fall 2020.

Work Practices to Reduce the Risk of Exposure

Face Coverings

Wearing a face covering can reduce the amount of virus that the wearer contributes to a space by trapping respiratory droplets and particles. Following UVM face covering guidance reduces virus concentration even from people who do not know they are infected.

Clean and Disinfect Surfaces and Touch Points

UVM Custodial Services clean and disinfect touch zones in common areas of UVM buildings daily. All other personnel will clean and disinfect their own spaces at the beginning of, through-out, and at the conclusion of their work shift or activity. Guidance for Cleaning and Sanitizing [PDF] outlines these responsibilities in different spaces at UVM.

Faculty and other teaching personnel, and students have responsibilities to clean their areas in classrooms as described in the Academic Classrooms Guidance [PDF].

Much of the cleaning & disinfecting materials are provided by UVM Facilities through safety and logistic officers.

Electronic equipment, computers, and printers require specific cleaning techniques [PDF].

Adjusting Spaces

Departmental spaces and offices are adjusted to maintain 6' physical distance between people. Directional signs and reminders of the 6' distancing guidelines are posted at building entries and in public spaces throughout campus; departments may post Rally Together signs as well. Classroom capacity has been adjusted for 6' physical distancing. Other public spaces, such as elevators and bathrooms, have capacity signage and other modifications as needed. Guidance for calculating 6-foot distancing shows how some of these spaces have been reimagined.

Maintain Physical Distance

All UVM personnel shall maintain strict physical distancing of 6’ (2 meters) between people and people shall not congregate in large groups on UVM premises either inside or outside facilities.

This prevents direct person-to-person transmission of respiratory droplets and allows smaller respiratory particles to diffuse.

Eliminating pinch points and areas of direct face-to-face interaction, by designating doors, hallways, and stairs as one-way (entry/exit, Up/Down), reduces direct transmission of respiratory particles.

Move Activities Outside or to Open Spaces

Moving activities outside increases the volume of air in which respiratory particles can diffuse, and allows for easy physical distancing between people and extensive air circulation.

Engineering Controls

Operating Air Handling Systems as Designed

UVM Physical Plant Department maintains all HVAC systems regularly on either a 6-month or 12-month preventative maintenance schedule in order to ensure the units are working effectively and reduce the likelihood of an unexpected shut-down. Filters and belts are changed during preventative maintenance.  Additionally, most HVAC units are connected to PPD’s building control system which allows these systems to be monitored continuously. PPD maintains staff on campus 24 hour a day who can respond to alerts from this system and/or concerns from personnel reported to Service Operations Support (SOS). Over the summer of 2020, PPD has verified that all HVAC systems are operating as designed and preventative maintenance performed on schedule.

Operate HVAC Systems Continuously

In order to not waste energy, most HVAC systems are designed with a set-back that allows the unit to supply very little ventilation during periods of low/no use such as overnight and weekends. During the fall of 2020, UVM has disabled these set-backs so the ventilation will operate in “occupied” mode 24 hours a day.

Disable Demand Control Ventilation

Many ventilation systems are designed to ramp up when there is a high occupancy, which is measured by the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air leaving the room (this is called return air). These systems are also designed to ramp down when the CO2 in the return air is low. A computer controller monitors the CO2, along with other parameters, and adjusts the ventilations based on that demand. UVM has disable these demand control systems to allow for full air flow 24 hours a day.

Increase amount of outside air being supplied

In order to recover air that has been heated or cooled and not waste that energy, most HVAC systems are designed to mix air that has been returned from occupied spaces with fresh air from outside. While very few systems are designed to allow for 100% outside air, they all have a range of fresh air that can be allowed (lower during extreme outside temperatures, higher during heavy occupancy loads). UVM is setting these systems to deliver the highest percentage of fresh air. These settings will change during extreme temperatures in order to keep buildings systems from damage and failure, and to provide adequate heating and/or cooling.

Open windows in Naturally Ventilated Rooms

In rooms without a central HVAC system, windows should be opened and remain open as much as possible. If assistance is needed with window operation, personnel should contact service operations support at sos@uvm.edu or (802)656-2560

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Gloves

Supervisors of employees who must work within a distance of 6 feet, will assess the risks and assign appropriate personal protective equipment.

This link has additional information about the use of disposable protective gloves [PDF].

Information about the use of N-95 respirators and face shields is included with face coverings guidance.

Respirators and Face Shields

Information about N-95 respirator and face shield use in response to COVID-19 can be found in the face coverings guidance.

Disposable glove guidance includes information about use, limitations, and dispsoal of protective gloves.


See the Return to In-Person Operations FAQs for specific personal and departmental guidance. All employees and students will complete an online VOSHA training in preparation for being on campus in the fall.