Princeton Playbook: Working Safely on Campus

In the interests of everyone’s health and safety, it bears repeating work that the appropriate cabinet officer determines can and should be performed remotely based on the nature of the work will continue to be performed remotely. Faculty, staff, and students who are authorized to return to campus should limit their movements as much as possible, stay home if unwell, practice social distancing, and wear a face covering at all times, both indoors and outdoors, unless they are alone. Adherence to the guidelines in this document is essential.

A.    Work Schedules

To limit the number of people on campus at any one time, supervisors should consider creative ways to rotate or stagger employees, including:

1.    Rotating employees throughout the week (or on alternate weeks) by creating two or more teams, each of which spends certain days on campus and certain days at home. This approach reduces the number of coworkers to whom any one employee is exposed, ensuring if someone contracts COVID-19, only their teammates will be among the close contacts subject to quarantine.
2.    Facilitating part-time remote work on alternate weekdays.
3.    Phasing the return of employees on a staggered two-to-four-week basis, taking into consideration workplace requirements and operational timelines.

These approaches are intended to reduce the number of coworkers to whom any one employee is exposed, limiting the be among the close contacts subject to quarantine if a co-worker contracts COVID-19.

For assistance in developing alternative work schedules, contact HR at hr@princeton.edu.

B.    Social Distancing

Limiting close contact with one another is among the most effective things we can do to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This is called social distancing and involves keeping as much space as possible between ourselves and others to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially virus-containing droplets and particles that leave our noses and mouths when we speak, sneeze, or cough. The CDC currently recommends that we maintain a distance of at least six feet or two meters (about two arms’ lengths) from one another. For this reason, every effort should be made to avoid gathering in groups and to stay away from crowded places.

Sign showing six foot tiger reminding to keep 6 feet apart

Some tasks may require two or more people to be closer than six feet from each other. If the task can be completed within a few minutes (and in under 15 cumulative minutes), it can proceed, provided everyone is wearing gloves and face coverings. In all other cases, consult EHS at ehs@princeton.edu or 609-258-5294. Options could include employing physical barriers, wearing other forms of personal protective equipment, or altering the process requiring close contact.

C.    Controlling Density

To facilitate social distancing within the University’s interior and exterior spaces, the following criteria should be employed:

  1. When considering a maximum density for office staff, use a minimum measure of 100 square feet per person as a guide.
  2. For office desk spaces with no partitions (walls extending at least five feet from the ground), a minimum of eight feet must be maintained between chairs.
  3. Departments and offices should review their layouts and consider options that will reduce density and the potential for close contact. Consider utilizing unused spaces such as conference rooms and meeting rooms to distribute workstations more widely.
  4. Physical barriers such as plexiglass should only be considered when six feet of distance cannot be maintained between individuals or in situations involving frequent interaction with patrons or the public, such as information desks or check-out areas. Facilities will ensure that the partitions do not exceed height restrictions based on NJ fire code.
  5. Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as tape or decals to indicate where to stand, particularly when physical barriers are not a good solution.
  6. Consider using outdoor spaces, especially for dining and breaks.
  7. While the transmission of the coronavirus is less likely to occur outdoors, social distancing must still be maintained.

The Workplace Strategies Guide provides examples and considerations for modifying work spaces and common areas to promote social distancing.

The process for requesting and reviewing coronavirus-related modifications to University facilities is outlined in the flowchart below. Please note your department requires an approved Resumption of Operations Plan prior to submitting a COVID-19 related project request using the Facilities Renovation/Capital Project form (login required). Please add COVID-19 PROJECT in the description of the project request. If you have any questions please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000. 

Image showing the full process that is already described in text.

Examples of COVID-19 related projects that are reviewed by the COVID-19 Project Committee include: 

  • The installation of plexiglass barriers;

  • Outdoor furniture changes; and

  • Indoor furniture changes including moves, storage, and wrapping of furniture.

Refer to section J. Guidance for Specific Areas for recommendations on how to decrease density and allow for social distancing in different types of locations throughout the Princeton. These include: atriums and commons spaces, break rooms, elevators, conference rooms, open work spaces, reception areas, hallways, and stairwells.

D. Visitors

Visitors to campus buildings are extremely limited.  See the Visitors Policy for more information.

A campus visitor is considered any person who is NOT a:

  • Currently enrolled student authorized to be on campus
  • Current University employee who has been approved to work on campus
  • Visiting researcher or visiting faculty with formal appointments from the Dean of the Faculty and who have been approved to work on campus
  • Contractors or vendors who follow the Guidance  for Vendors and Contractors
  • Family members of faculty and staff who live in University housing.
  • Others, as identified in the Visitor Policy.

Campus visitors are prohibited from entering all campus buildings, including the Library, Princeton University Art Museum, Richardson Auditorium, and Chapel.  These spaces are prioritized for teaching, research, and worship for students, faculty, and staff. Outdoor athletic facilities are reserved for use by University students.

Exceptions to these visitor limitations must be reviewed and approved by Environmental Health and Safety using the Visitor Request Form(link is external)

Visitors not in compliance with this guidance will be asked to leave the campus. Public Safety officers may issue persona-non-grata (PNG) for repeat violations of visitor policy, failure to voluntarily comply with social distancing and mask requirements and for remaining on campus after being asked to leave after a violation.

E. Working Alone

With so many members of our University community working remotely and with alternative work schedules in place that could include extended hours, it is more likely than usual that employees may find themselves working in otherwise empty facilities. Under these circumstances, it is important to:

  • Minimize time spent alone, while preserving social distancing.
  • Schedule late-night work in teams of two or more.
  • Keep your phone and emergency numbers handy.
  • Park as closely as possible to your workplace to minimize walking alone, especially late at night.
  • When available, use TigerTransit, including their on-demand service.
  • Consider using the the “work alone” feature in the TigerSafe app to arrange for someone to check on them at agreed-upon intervals.

Report suspicious activity to Public Safety by dialing 911. 

F. Cleaning and Disinfecting

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

Faculty, staff, and students are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces within their work areas, such as computer keyboards, phones, and desktops. In the case of shared spaces, users must take responsibility for wiping down surfaces and equipment, including tabletops, refrigerator and microwave door handles, coffee makers, and photocopier touch panels. Departments and offices should ensure that an adequate supply of disinfecting wipes are available for this purpose. Use cleaning materials that are included in the EPA approved list of disinfectants for COVID-19 (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2 ) Contact EHS at ehs@princeton.edu for supplies. Details on requesting disinfectant from EHS and availability are available on the EHS website

Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are located near building entrances. Consideration should be given to placing additional, smaller bottles of hand sanitizer (which can be ordered through EHS at ehs@princeton.edu) in work areas. If a hand sanitizer dispenser is empty or missing, contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.

Small bottles of hand sanitizer should be placed in areas where common equipment is used or kitchenettes, unless a hand washing sink is available. Departments and offices should not stockpile hand sanitizers. Besides ensuring that there is enough to distribute among buildings, the material is flammable and stockpiling may create a fire hazard.

Individuals are encouraged to carry personal containers of hand sanitizer for use as needed.

G. Ventilation

Please see the Guidance on Ventilation Systems for more information.

Facilities will continue to perform preventive maintenance updates (PMs) on our building ventilation systems and operate the equipment to ensure optimal performance.

Fresh Air Supply

If you work or study in a building with a mechanical ventilation system, you will receive the maximum amount of outside air that can be provided by the system. The amount of outside air supplied will be balanced with maintaining reasonable temperature and humidity levels to ensure occupant comfort and decrease the potential for microbial growth, including mold.  

Preventive Maintenance and Operation

Ventilation systems that serve laboratory spaces are operational 24 hours/7 days a week. Systems serving office and academic spaces are operational while the building is occupied and two hours pre and post-occupancy. All ventilation systems are serviced semi-annually.

Filtration 

Each air handling unit is equipped with the most efficient filter that can be accommodated by the equipment.  Filters are inspected and changed a minimum of twice a year.  

Special Cleaning and Disinfection Systems

Based on a review of available studies and the type of activities conducted on campus, there is inconclusive scientific evidence to support major modifications to existing ventilation systems such as installation of ultraviolet light (UV) or portable filtration units. 

A team comprised of representatives from Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety will assess rooms used for assembly and large, open work areas, such as classrooms and open office areas, to determine if the area is served by a mechanical ventilation system. Some activities may be restricted in these spaces if such a system is not in place.

Other than in laboratory spaces, operable windows should be used to introduce additional fresh air. 

H.    Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirators

Per the University policy on Face Coverings, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth whenever in buildings or on property occupied by Princeton University. This includes, but is not limited to, all buildings and grounds, University vehicles, dining halls, Tiger Transit buses, conference rooms, office buildings, elevators, and parking structures.

Wearing a face covering supplements, but does not replace, social distancing. All faculty, staff, students, and visitors should continue to maintain at least six feet separation, as possible.

Exceptions

  • Individuals are not required to wear a face covering when alone in a room, cubicle or vehicle. Face coverings are not required when outdoors and able to maintain at least 6 feet (2 meters) of physical distancing.
  • Residents of University housing are not required to wear a face covering when in their own living space, including bedrooms, suites, or apartments.
  • Face coverings are required in common spaces of all residential buildings, including but not limited to lounges, libraries, common rooms, seminar rooms, theaters, and innovation spaces, unless alone in the space.
  • Individuals are not required to wear a face covering if wearing one would inhibit that individual’s health. This includes, but is not limited to, the existence of a medical condition, such as difficulty breathing or inability to place or remove the face covering without assistance. If wearing a face covering impedes the ability to conduct work or complete a task, contact EHS for recommendations on alternatives.

See the Princeton University policy on Face Coverings (https://ehs.princeton.edu/FaceCoveringsPolicy.html) for more information.

It is important not to confuse the function of cloth and disposable face coverings with those of surgical masks and respirators. As discussed below, they serve unique purposes in combatting the coronavirus. They are designed to be used in different contexts and are not interchangeable.

  Cloth Face Covering Disposable Mask N95 Respirator Other Respirators
Type Tiger print face covering Surgical Mask N95 Mask Half Facepiece Respirator
Description Homemade or commercially made face washable, reusable face coverings that help reduce the spread of large droplets of the wearer Commercially manufactured masks that help reduce the spread of large droplets of the wearer Disposable respirators that protect the wearer from aerosols and respiratory droplets. Reusable respirators that protect the wearer from aerosols, droplets, and/or other materials.
Use Required at all times on campus, except when alone in a space. Wear cloth masks except when otherwise advised, e.g., in laboratories. Intended only for healthcare and emergency response. Reusable respirators are generally not recommended for COVID-19.

Cloth Face Coverings

The CDC is currently recommending that everyone wear cloth face coverings when in public and the University requires this. These are not medical grade masks, and individuals can either obtain or make their own, following the CDC’s guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html). Individuals can also request such coverings from their department or office if they are unable to make or obtain one for themselves.

Use and Care

Note: Do not wear a cloth face covering when conducting research at the laboratory bench involving hazardous chemicals, biohazards, or radioactive materials. Disposable face coverings must be worn in such cases. Detailed guidance can be found in the Resumption of Research Plan.

  • Always clean one’s hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol prior to putting on, touching, or removing the covering.
  • When removing the covering, release the ear loops, straps, or other fasteners from behind the head. Do not touch the front of the covering.
  • Use the covering until it becomes damaged, soiled, or wet. It should be taken home and laundered each night. Use a washing machine with warm or hot water and laundry detergent. Coverings can be laundered with other items.
  • Everyone should have a dry backup stored in a sanitary condition (within a closed paper or plastic bag) in the event their covering becomes damaged, soiled, or wet.

Disposable Face Coverings

Non-medical disposable masks, as well as nuisance dust masks, fall into this category. These are not medical masks and serve the same purpose as cloth face coverings.

Use and Care

  • Use disposable face coverings until they become damaged, soiled, or wet. If the covering becomes damp from normal respiration, perspiration, or water, remove and store it in a sanitary location, such as a paper bag, allowing it to dry before reuse. Coverings can be used for at least 16 hours unless they are damaged, soiled, or wet.
  • Always clean one’s hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol prior to putting on, touching, or removing the covering.
  • When removing the covering, release the ear loops, straps, or other fasteners from behind the head. Do not touch the front of the covering.
  • Everyone should have a dry backup stored in a sanitary condition (within a closed paper or plastic bag) in the event their covering becomes damaged, soiled, or wet.

N95 Masks

An N95 mask is a type of respirator used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles, including small droplets that may contain viruses. Members of our University community must be medically cleared, trained, and fitted to wear an N95 mask. They are in short supply and are only to be worn by individuals, such as healthcare workers and emergency responders, who are in direct contact with the ill. Only those involved in these activities are authorized to wear an N95 mask on campus. Contact EHS at ehs@princeton.edu or 609-258-5294 to discuss any task that may require the use of this device.

Other Types of Respirators

There are many other types of respirators that may reduce the wearer’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus when worn properly. These devices are not the first choice for protection from COVID-19, primarily because they require disinfection. They are also in short supply and are only to be worn by healthcare workers and emergency responders, as an alternative to an N95 respirator. They require users to be medically cleared, trained, and fitted to wear the device and should not be worn by the general public. Contact EHS at ehs@princeton.edu or 609-258-5294 to discuss any task that may require the use of a respirator.
 

I.    Gloves

In most cases, gloves need not be worn by those who are practicing proper social distancing and hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing is not feasible). However, consideration should be given to wearing gloves when operating shared equipment, frequently interacting with high-touch surfaces, and in other situations where repeated hand cleaning is impractical.

EHS may recommend wearing gloves in the course of particular operations for protection against COVID-19 or other potential hazards. Case by case guidance is available at ehs@princeton.edu or 609-258-5294.

After one wearing, gloves should be disposed of carefully and never reused. They should be discarded in a lined trash bag, and the wearer should immediately wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

J. Events, Gatherings, and Meetings

In support of efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19, gatherings, meetings, or events (“gatherings”) should be hosted virtually whenever possible.

Gatherings of greater than 5 people indoors and 20 people outdoors that support a student’s progress towards a degree or a student’s health and well-being, or are deemed essential to the mission of the University, may be held in person if approved by the Gatherings Team. Please see the University’s Gatherings Policy to learn more about the approval request process.

Gatherings of fewer than 5 people indoors and 20 outdoors must be held in accordance with University’s public health measures and should be scheduled through the EMS web app scheduling.princeton.edu

K.    Guidance for Specific Areas

The campus presents a number of location and activity-specific health and safety challenges arising from the coronavirus that should be approached with care.

Please refer to the guidelines below, and use the Workplace Strategies Guide, to explore space modifications for various location types. Before taking any action, please consider the following

  • Your department requires an approved Resumption of Operations Plan prior to submitting a COVID-19 related project request.
  • Review the Workplace Strategies Guide, from The Facilities Modification team, to help explore and plan space modifications in your area.
  • In order to block, move or remove furniture or fixtures due to COVID-19 spacing, you need to submit a request using the Renovation/Capital Project form with COVID-19 PROJECT in the description.
  • Do not block emergency exits or place signage that suggests individuals should not use an emergency exit.
  • If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.
Atriums and Common Spaces

Faculty, staff, and students should not congregate in atriums and common spaces. The number of people allowed to meet in any space, regardless of size, may not exceed the limits established by NJ executive orders (currently 25% of the capacity, up to 100 indoors). Given the potential of such areas for taking breaks, meals or making room for workstations, those who oversee these areas may need to explore space modifications. 

For help with space modifications, blocking chairs and/or storing excess furnishings, please refer to the Workplace Strategies Guide and submit a Renovation/Capital Project form, with COVID-19 PROJECT in the description. If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.

Break Rooms

Chairs and other furniture should be thinned in break rooms to reduce the likelihood of congregation and to foster social distancing. For example, we recommend only one chair remain around a small table. Whenever possible, break room users should be offered alternative locations (such as outdoors in nice weather) to take breaks and meals.

For help with space modifications, blocking chairs and/or storing excess furnishings please refer to the Workplace Strategies Guide and submit a Renovation/Capital Project form, with COVID-19 PROJECT in the description. If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.

Buildings Not Owned or Operated by the University

Some University offices are located in buildings that are owned or operated by an external property management company. Building occupants should work through the Office of Capital Projects Real Estate Development to ensure that their return to work plans are fully implemented with property managers.

Coffee Makers, Water Coolers, and Refrigerators

High-touch areas of shared appliances such as coffee makers, water coolers, and refrigerators should be disinfected frequently, using disinfecting wipes between uses. Building Services custodians are not responsible for cleaning these devices. Avoid drinking fountains in favor of bottle-filling stations and do not bring personal appliances, such as small refrigerators, to work as these may violate the fire code.

Conference Rooms

Limit their use as meeting places and consider converting them to workstations. Any meeting or gathering of more than 5 people must follow the protocols and procedures for Gatherings and Events.

For help with space modifications, blocking chairs and/or storing excess furnishings please refer to the Workplace Strategies Guide and submit a Renovation/Capital Project form, with COVID-19 PROJECT in the description. If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.

Elevators

Limit elevator use and take the stairs whenever possible. Riders should make every effort to maintain social distancing while waiting for an elevator and to travel between floors alone. If sharing an elevator is unavoidable, occupants should stand in opposite corners, facing away from each other. Avoid touching elevator buttons directly (gloves or an object like a pen can offer some protection); otherwise, promptly wash one’s hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Exterior Doors

Do not mark doors to buildings as enter or exit-only without discussion with the University Fire Marshal. 

To limit unauthorized access to University facilities, all exterior doors will be locked at all times. Faculty, staff, and students should be prepared to use their keys or TigerCards every time they enter a building. For convenience, consider attaching the latter to a break-away lanyard or belt clip.

As needed, TigerCard access can be updated using keyless lock hot spots (https://hres.princeton.edu/sites/g/files/toruqf196/files/2020-01/hotspot-map.pdf). Just place the TigerCard against the hot spot until the indicator light changes from blue to green. Questions concerning TigerCard access, including permissions, should be directed to one’s Building Access Coordinator (BAC) or Department Access Facilitator (DAF).

Hallways and Stairwells

Momentarily passing another person does not significantly increase one’s risk of contracting COVID-19 and is not considered “close contact.” However, do not linger in hallways and stairwells. If stairwells become too crowded for comfort, please submit a signage consultation request using the Renovation/Capital Project form with COVID-19 PROJECT in the description. If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000. 

When climbing or descending stairs, handrails should be used, but afterwards wash one’s hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Hoteling and Open Workstations

Take advantage of all unused space to spread out workstations. Employees should be prepared to occupy work stations other than their traditional workspaces to increase the distance between coworkers. If practical, consider assigning spaces rather than sharing.

Mail and Packages

Mail and packages continue to be delivered to and on campus, though some changes in delivery methods have been instituted. Check with Print and Mail Services at mailsvc@princeton.edu or 609-258-1304 to ascertain how deliveries are being handled: to one’s building once a day, to one’s building on a limited schedule, or to Frist Campus Center for pickup. The mail and package operations on Frist’s 100 level are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Automated package lockers are available whenever Frist is open.

No disinfection or quarantine of mail or packages is required, though hands should be cleaned with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after handling. Gloves should be worn if the volume of mail or packages being touched is large.

Meals

Since face coverings must be removed to consume meals, individuals need to take particular care when eating meals on campus. 

  • Outdoor spaces with at least 6 feet separation between people.
  • Private offices and cubicles (with walls or partitions that are at least 4 feet tall that provide separation from others.
  • Break rooms or meeting rooms that provide a minimum of 100 square feet per person, at least 6 feet of separation between individuals, used only for dining (not occupied by others).

Snacks and food intended for sharing must be individually packaged.

Parking

Members of our University community who rely on TigerTransit to take them from their campus residences or assigned parking lots to their workplaces and who have a valid parking permit can temporarily park in closer numbered lots (except lots 8, 9, and 18) with empty spaces. Questions or concerns should be directed to Transportation and Parking Services at ttps@princeton.edu.

Quiet Rooms

Wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant after each use of a quiet room.

Reception Areas

Consider physical barriers for staffed reception areas, especially when visitors (from the University community) are expected. Turn, mark, or remove seating. 

Restrooms

To maintain physical distancing in restrooms, some fixtures (such as every other sink or urinal) may need to be taped or blocked off (which will be completed by Facilities staff as indicated in the space modification plan). Users should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use paper towels to dry their hands, turn off faucets, and, if necessary, manipulate the restroom door; and avoid hand dryers. If the restroom is fully occupied, form a line outside, maintaining at least six feet of separation from others waiting to enter.

TigerTransit and Public Transportation

Face coverings are required when using TigerTransit and public transportation. Avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces on buses and trains and sit as far away as possible from other passengers. For employees who need to take public transportation, departments and offices should work with HR to determine whether an alternative work schedule can be accommodated to avoid peak ridership times.

Time clocks

Departments and offices should review time clock areas to avoid crowding and consider introducing floor markings to guide employees when standing in line. Consideration should also be given to staggering clock-in and clock-out times to reduce congestion.

Vehicles

No more than one person should ride in a University vehicle at one time. However, if all other options have been exhausted and two people must ride in a University vehicle, the following mitigating factors must be followed:

  • Keep travel time under 10 minutes
  • Face coverings must be worn
  • If available, utilize a 4-seat golf cart with one person riding on the back on the opposite side of the driver
  • A crew cab vehicle may be used to transport two individuals if the passenger sits in the back seat on the far passenger side
  • Lower the vehicle windows or avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation; use the car’s vents to bring in fresh outside air
  • Employees may not take meals or breaks in the same vehicle
  • No more than two people may ride in a University vehicle

A partition may be installed between the front and back seat as long as it does not interfere with the operation of the vehicle or compromise the crash safety standards of the vehicle.

Please note: A driver and passenger will be considered “close contacts” despite the above precautions if one of them becomes ill or tests positive for Covid-19. This could result in quarantine for the unaffected employee.

Disinfecting Vehicles

Carry disinfecting wipes and a trash bag in each vehicle and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as the steering wheel, gearshift, signaling levers, and door handles at the start and end of each shift or before a new driver uses the vehicle. The same driver and passenger should use the same vehicle for the work shift as much as possible.

L.    Signage

The Facilities Signage Team (FST) team is placing signs and markings in campus buildings to remind and instruct faculty, staff, and students about public health measures. Standardized signage will be automatically posted in all buildings that resume operations. If signs are not posted prior to resumption of operations, departments/schools may print and post them as a temporary measure. Digital versions of signs are available here to download. To request additional signage for special practices, traffic patterns, restricted access, and the like, submit your signage requests using the Renovation/Capital Project form. Please indicate COVID-19 PROJECT in the description of the project request. If you have any questions please contact Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.