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. 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. 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).

Spring 2022 Update! What do I do if I test positive? What do I do if I am a close contact? See the UVM Guidelines [PDF] updated for 2022!

Hazard Elimination


There are a few vaccines available to the UVM Community that have proven to be very effective at preventing illness caused by infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  These vaccines are available through the Vermont Department of Health. All employees and other UVM community members are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

All students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19; more information is available at the UVM Forward Vaccine Information page.

COVID-19 Testing

UVM continues to offer COVID-19 testing at no cost for the UVM Community. People who are experiencing symptoms should test only at Student Health Serviced (students only), their Primary Care provider, or Vermont Department of Health.  People without symptoms can test at the UVM testing Center; please remember that this will require use of the CoVerified app.

Stay Home When Sick

Health Screening and Testing reduces the number of infected people contributing to the virus concentration on campus.
All people should avoid coming to campus if they feel ill; especially if they exhibit symptoms of a highly transmissible illness such as influenza or COVID-19. UVM’s health screening tool can be used to help decide whether a person should choose to remain away from campus. Employees should work with their supervisiors to determine the best use of leave or remote work options that are appropriate in their situation. Contact labor and emplyee relations for more information at ler@uvm.edu.

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.

Wash Hands

Everybody should wash their hands a few times each day for 20 seconds using soap and water. Studies have shown for decades that this simple practice reduces the incidents of illness in settings such as hospitals and military camps.

When handwashing facilities are not available, people should use hand sanitizers such as those provided around UVM campus.

Cleaning hands is especially useful after a person coughs or sneezes, before and after using common areas such as dining facilities and break rooms, and after using the bathroom.

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].

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). 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. 

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. U

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). These settings may change seasonally in order to keep buildings systems from damage and failure, and to provide adequate heating and/or cooling

Personal Protective Equipment


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense against occupational hazards. PPE should be considered only after more effective controls have been examined (elimination, substitution, engineering, and administrative).  In order for PPE to protect the user, it must be selected, stored, maintained, and worn properly.

More information about PPE can be found ont he Risk Management & Safety PPE page.


LAST UPDATED 09 January 2022

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