EHS COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Campus Guidelines

Current Campus Guidelines that include masking and distancing protocols in different venues can be found on UConn's COVID page at this link:  https://covid.uconn.edu/campus-guidelines.

Contacting Your UConn EHS Team

As the University of Connecticut continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, Environmental Health and Safety maintains essential services to support the UConn community. Email is currently the best way to reach our staff.

Resources

The resources in this section have been created/adapted by and for the University of Connecticut community. Additional and updated resources will be included as they become available. Please note that as new information becomes available UConn will be in contact again and will update the COVID website.

Signage and Supplies

Home Office Ergonomics

Online Resources

Home Office Ergonomics - Basics in 5 Minutes

 

External Resources

University Resources

UConn gateway sign with students walking

Frequently Asked Questions

Are N95 masks available to wear at work?

Surgical-style and KN95 masks are available upon request to the University community through the Facilities website:  Face Mask Request Form.

N95 masks are considered respirators and are provided to employees who require them in their work, such as our healthcare staff and some Facilities and research employees. However, they require training, fit testing, and medical clearance to wear effectively and safely, and to comply with OSHA’s Respirator Standard.

Employees who would like to wear an N95 on a voluntary basis can do so, but would need to receive information on their safe use in compliance with the OSHA standard. Most people find wearing an N95 respirator for extended periods to be very uncomfortable.  They tend to restrict breathing much more than a 3-ply procedure mask and have other limitations.

If you intend to wear an N95 voluntarily at work, either:

Review this document: Voluntary Use of Filtering Facepiece Respirators
or
Log in to HuskySMS and take the online training: Respiratory Protection--Voluntary Use of Dust Masks (online).

We have a bottled water cooler that has not been used for a while.  Is it safe to drink from?

You should clean your bottled water cooler before resuming use.

  • Unplug or turn off the dispenser.
  • Drain the dispenser through the taps, dispose of the water, and remove the bottle.
  • Put in a new bottle, flush some water through both taps and dispose of the water.
  • Clean the taps and dispensing area with food-safe sanitizer spray or wipes.
  • Wash drip tray with hot water and dish soap.
  • Plug in/turn on your dispenser
  • If your cooler has had a bottle removed for an extended period, please contact your vendor for additional cleaning recommendations.

    Is it safe to use water fountains and bottle fillers?

    Water fountains and bottle fillers are safe to use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The risk of getting COVID-19 from touching a solid surface (like a water fountain button) is low, and COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water.

    Does my space need an air filtration unit?

    Air filtration units are not necessary in our occupied spaces, especially in buildings serviced by mechanical ventilation systems. Facilities Operations has continued to perform preventative maintenance (PM) on the University’s HVAC systems, including changing filters on a regular basis. Where feasible, filters with higher efficiency (MERV ratings) have been installed. Outside air settings are being leveraged to maximize outdoor air per person. HVAC systems have continued to operate regardless of the occupancy status of the buildings. However, if your department chooses to purchase stand-alone units for comfort purposes, keep these requirements in mind:
    • They must only utilize HEPA filters (or combination HEPA and carbon filters – many units on the market incorporate both HEPA filters for particulates and carbon filters for odors.)
    • No ionizers or photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technologies – these are marketed as able to remove odors, smoke, and other contaminants, but they can produce ozone, a harmful respirator irritant and/or other hazardous by-products.
    • No UV – these units can produce ozone and also has the potential for harmful UV exposure to eyes and skin.
    • Portable units may also contribute to overload of electrical circuits in some locations.
    • Nuisance noise can be generated from the units, especially when operated at higher levels. Operating at low levels, however, reduces the effectiveness of the unit.
    • Departments interested in purchasing stand-alone units should contact Amy Allen, Associate Director Supply Chain Management, at amy.allen@uconn.edu, to discuss options.
    Please see Ventilation and COVID-19 for additional information.

    I drive a vehicle in my work.  Are there any COVID-19 safety precautions I should follow?

    As with UConn’s guidance about indoor masking, masks are recommended in state or other vehicles used for work when traveling with others. Other recommendations: When possible, leave the vehicle’s windows at least partially open during travel, and don’t put the cabin’s settings on recycled air.  Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces between users and wash hands after vehicle use or use hand sanitizer if water isn’t available.

    Can we use Breakrooms and Kitchenettes safely?

    To use kitchenettes and breakrooms safely we recommend following these guidelines:
    • Wear a face covering while in the kitchen or the breakroom.
    • Wash hands after touching surfaces and before eating or drinking.
    • Use the kitchenette/breakroom only for essential functions, like heating food or getting water.
    • To avoid overcrowding, stagger break/lunch schedules when practical.
    • Avoid eating in shared breakrooms if unable to maintain physical distancing. Instead, take breaks outside or in your private office, if possible.
    • If you are eating in the breakroom, keep eating/drinking time to a minimum and try not to hang around for longer than necessary.
    • Wash used, non-disposable food service utensils with dish soap and hot water.
    • Clean kitchenette and breakroom tables, counters, appliances, sinks and other surfaces regularly.