FAQs for COVID-19 Health and Safety

Updated April 14, 2023


What cleaning protocols are in place for offices, classrooms, and other campus spaces?

Building Services custodians, on a daily basis, clean and disinfect classrooms, lobbies, atriums and high-contact public surfaces such as light switches, handrails, elevator buttons and doorknobs.

How often are bathrooms cleaned?

Building Services custodians clean all bathrooms across campus at least once per day.

What do Building Services custodians clean and what is my department or I expected to clean?

Building Services custodians clean and disinfect restrooms and high-contact surfaces in public spaces. Individuals should clean and disinfect frequently touched items in their own work area on a daily basis, including computer and peripherals, doorknobs and handles, light switches, phones, desks, tools and other shared equipment.

In the case of shared departmental spaces such as break rooms, users must take responsibility for wiping down surfaces and equipment, including tabletops, refrigerator and microwave door handles, coffee makers, and photo copier touch panels.

Where do I get cleaning supplies?

If you need disinfectant wipes or other cleaning supplies for your work area, request a supply from your supervisor. Supervisors may contact [email protected] if assistance is needed to obtain supplies.

What products are effective for disinfection of the COVID-19 virus?

A number of chemical products are anticipated to be effective at inactivating the COVID-19 virus, based upon previous testing of the disinfectant against similar viruses.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the criteria used to assess the effectiveness of disinfectants and maintains a list of products and conditions of use (such as contact time) that are anticipated to be effective against the COVID-19 virus.  These products are found under the EPA List N: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19

Due to interest in this subject, the EPA has recently launched an interactive version of List N to make it easier to search. https://cfpub.epa.gov/giwiz/disinfectants/index.cfm

A number of manufacturers are actively testing their products the verify their product’s effectiveness by directly testing against the COVID-19 virus.  More information will be provided once additional information is available on disinfectants verified against COVID-19.

Is it okay to use disinfectant wipes intended for surfaces  to clean my hands?

Unless clearly indicated in the instructions provided by the manufacturer, most cleaning products (including disinfecting wipes) designed for use on hard surfaces should not be used to sanitize your hands.  These products are often formulated with harsher chemicals than similar sanitizing wipe products intended for use on a person and may result in harm, such skin injury or irritation and serious injury to the eye if remaining residue is accidentally wiped into the eyes.



Do I have to wear a face covering when on campus? 

Starting March 14, 2022, face coverings will be optional in most University spaces, with some exceptions. 

  • Where required by state or local agencies, currently in the McCosh Health Center
  • As instructed by Global and Community Health following a recent positive test for COVID-19 or when identified as a close contact
  • When faculty or staff conveners of a class, lab, gathering, or meeting require participants to wear a mask
  • When certain categories of visitors do not wish to attest to being up to date on current vaccination

Continue to carry a mask with you at all times in the event you are in one of the above situations.

Additional information is available in the March 2 Covid Newsletter and memo to the University community.

May I choose to wear a face covering, even where it is not required?

Yes, please feel free to wear a face covering if that is your preference. The University encourages a culture of non-judgment and no assumptions regarding mask-wearing.

My prescription glasses fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?

If your glasses are fogging up when you wear a face covering, it is likely that there is too much of a gap around the nose. Here are a few ways to manage this:

  • Wear a face covering that has an adjustable wire at the bridge of the nose. Ensure that the material fits snugly around the nose.
  • Rest your glasses over your face covering to help block the air from escaping, thus preventing fogging. 
  • Use an anti-fogging eye glass/safety glass cleaning wipe.  In addition to helping to remove smudges on your glasses, these wipes deposit a thin film that helps to prevent fogging.  If you do not have anti-fogging wipes, try baby shampoo*, glycerine soap*, dishwashing detergent*, or a small amount of toothpaste* on a soft cloth to clean your glasses. Shake off the excess and let them air dry. This technique leaves a thin film that reduces surface tension that builds up from your breath, causing fogging.

* If one of the alternatives to anti-fogging wipes are used, avoid the use of fragranced materials and materials claiming superlative cleaning properties (grease cutting, whitening, etc) as these may contain additives that can be irritating or harmful to your eyes and skin. 

I need to wear safety glasses and they fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?

By forming a tight seal across the nose and under your eyes, Safety goggles are far less likely to fog up than safety glasses. Consider wearing goggles instead. Alternatively, follow the guidance above for prescription glasses. 

Is a disposable mask safer than a cloth face covering?

Not necessarily. When it comes to masks, fit is the most important factor. The CDC recommends selecting a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of your face. Cloth masks should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric and should be laundered regularly. Disposable medical masks fitted around your nose may also be used. KN95 or KF94 masks are readily available commercially and may be used, but are not required.

We do not recommend that departments provide N95 respirators for voluntary use for several reasons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has very specific requirements, such as fit-testing and medical clearance, for when employers require employees to wear N95s, and our experience has shown that achieving proper fit for an N95 can be difficult and may not achieve the desired level of protection.

How and how often should I clean my face cloth face covering?

Wash your face covering after each day or when it becomes soiled. 

  • Use a washing machine and regular detergent, warm or hot water. You can wash face coverings with your other laundry. Air dry or place in the dryer. Some elastic can be damaged over time in the dryer, so check the elastic after drying.
  • Wash by hand with dish detergent or castile soap and warm or hot water. Air dry.

Do face coverings really work in reducing the spread of disease?

There are numerous peer-reviewed studies that confirm that masks, even cloth masks, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Tight-fitting face coverings, whether reusable cloth masks or disposable, protect others from potentially infectious droplets that might be generated by the person wearing the mask, and protect the person wearing the mask. This is particularly important because people can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 without showing any symptoms.

The following CDC resources provide guidance and scientific background:

This article provides links to several peer-reviewed studies: Do face masks work? Here are 49 scientific studies that explain why they do



The Visitor Policy enacted for COVID-19 mitigation, which formed the basis of the guidance for gatherings, meetings and events, is no longer in effect as of 3-31-23. Visitors to the University are expected to follow CDC and NJ Department of Health guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone who tested positive in the past 10 days, including isolation and mask requirements.



What has the University done to improve building ventilation systems in light of the risk of exposure to COVID-19?

The University has taken a number of steps, including:. 

  • Servicing HVAC systems in buildings that have not been occupied to ensure that they are working properly and efficiently.
  • As possible, increasing the amount of outside air and decreasing the amount of recirculating air in buildings. 
  • Where possible, replacing air filters with highly efficient filters, such as MERV-13 filters.
  • Reducing or disabling occupancy controls that decrease ventilation rates when the space is unoccupied.

I'd like to have the ventilation in my building/office assessed. What should I do?

At this time, Facilities and EHS are not conducting additional ventilation assessments in campus buildings.

What can I do to improve ventilation in my building?

  • If your space has operable windows and opening them will not disrupt air conditioning or heating, open windows while occupying the space. Do not leave windows open and unlocked when the building is unoccupied. 
  • Leave on exhaust fans in restrooms if they are operated by a switch.

How much outside air is provided to our campus buildings?

*Wherever possible, the University meets or exceeds the outside air parameters recommended by ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2019 on Indoor Air Quality.  

Ventilation systems in our older buildings may not provide the amount of outside air specified by this standard. However, all of our air handler units have been set to provide the maximum amount of outside air while maintaining reasonably comfortable temperature and relative humidity levels. 

Is air in my office recirculated from other parts of the building?  

With the exception of laboratories and machine shops, the ventilation system in most buildings on campus provide a mix of outdoor and recirculated air.  Even the most stringent indoor air quality standards for classrooms, offices and assembly areas allow for a mix of outside and recirculated air.

Recirculated air is filtered before it is delivered back to occupied spaces. The quality of a filter is based upon its ability to capture small particles. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) rating is a measurement of a filter's ability to capture particles of a certain size and range from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at trapping certain size particles. When possible, our ventilation systems are equipped with MERV-13 filters, as recommended by CDC. All air filters are periodically cleaned and replaced by trained Facilities staff to ensure proper function

Some of the air in my building is recirculated. If a co-worker is diagnosed with COVID-19, will I need to quarantine due to the recirculated air?

No. Decisions about the need to quarantine a staff member or student are made by UHS physicians and nurses and are based primarily upon your physical distance from the ill person. You may be told to quarantine only if you were within six feet of the ill person for more than 15 minutes over the course of 24 hours during a specific window. 
I work in a small office and I am concerned because there is no mechanical ventilation system.

Some older buildings are equipped with heating and cooling devices but do not receive fresh air via a mechanical ventilation system. If windows are available, open them unless opening the windows affects your seasonal allergies. If the unventilated space is used for assemblies of staff or students, EHS may make recommendations on how to safely use the space.

Should I purchase or bring in an air purifier for extra protection in the office?

Additional air purification is not necessary and can place undue demand on building electrical systems. If a department wishes to purchase portable air purifiers, please see the portable HEPA filter guidance found on the EHS website.

What about filtration units in classrooms?

For those few classrooms with no mechanical ventilation, portable filters have been placed by Facilities (if assigned by the Registrar) or may be purchased by departments (if managed at the department level). These units must comply with guidance outlined on the EHS website



The Visitor Policy enacted for COVID-19 mitigation is no longer in effect as of 3-31-23. Visitors to the University are expected to follow CDC and NJ Department of Health guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone who tested positive in the past 10 days, including isolation and mask requirements.



If your question is not listed on this document, please contact EHS at [email protected] or 609-258-5294.



> Go to COVID-19 Policies, Guidance and FAQs <



Robin Izzo
Assistant Vice President, EHS