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Facilities Management Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Facilities Management understands the need to provide healthy campus environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with our departments and other UC campuses to identify and implement additional necessary services as more staff return to campus.

As faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors return to campus, Facilities Management is implementing many additional procedures to ensure our campus buildings are healthy and safe. We are working closely with our partners at Environment, Health & Safety, Procurement and Contracts and other UC campuses to provide a safe and sanitary environment for the campus community and our staff who are performing this important work.

COVID-19 Cleaning Procedures

See how Building Services has implemented special cleaning procedures to help keep the campus community safe.

Enhanced Cleaning – Building Services

Building Services is adhering to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with increased cleaning frequencies and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces in all common areas, public spaces, break rooms, kitchenettes and other areas throughout campus core-funded spaces. We are developing and implementing operational plans to sustain enhanced cleaning and disinfecting services and frequencies for all high-use areas when the campus reopens.

In addition to regular cleaning services, to provide enhanced sanitation and disinfection in all core-funded campus buildings with current resources, Facilities Management Building Services staff are:

  • Training staff on enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, use of Personal Protective Equipment and personal safety measures based on recommendations from the CDC, California Department of Public Health, County of San Diego and Environment, Health & Safety guidance and protocols
  • Cleaning and disinfecting these areas/surfaces daily:
    • All building common area touch points (e.g., entrance doors and handles, lobby and interior elevator buttons, water fountains, etc.)
    • All door handles, light switches and desktops in conference rooms, computer labs, research labs, study rooms, classrooms and auditoriums
    • All restrooms, including all touch points and fixtures, with many high-use restrooms receiving multiple cleanings and disinfections per day
    • All kitchenette doorknobs, light switches, countertops, sinks, faucets, tabletops and floors
  • Monitoring soap supplies in all restrooms, kitchenettes and other areas with soap dispensers to ensure that people can wash their hands frequently per CDC recommendations
  • Increasing disinfection of stairwell handrails and access doors
  • Performing regular quality assurance inspections to ensure staff understand and are following proper cleaning and disinfection protocols and use proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required during their daily performance of duties.
  • Working with vendors to ensure that we have adequate supplies and equipment to keep campus facilities cleaned, sanitized and well stocked with all essential products
  • Working with our procurement teams and vendors to purchase new equipment, such as electric disinfectant sprayers and electrostatic backpack sprayers, that will allow staff to disinfect large areas quickly and efficiently
  • Coordinated installation of hand sanitizer dispensers at all building entrances
  • Pilot testing touchless door hardware
  • Examining cost-effective opportunities to optimize cleaning processes

Building Ventilation and Water Systems

Here’s what our building maintenance teams are doing to ensure that building water and indoor air quality are as clean and fresh as possible to ensure that buildings are operating per CDC recommendations:

  • Adjusting automated building systems to increase outdoor air ventilation to dilute airborne contaminants and reduce possible disease transmission risks
  • Operating building HVAC systems 24/7 wherever possible to maximize fresh air circulation
  • Maximizing fan speeds to ensure increased air exchange and airflow
  • Continuing to:
    • Provide 100% outdoor air at all times in lab spaces and increasing fan speeds to purge the air prior to occupancy
    • Routinely flush all building domestic water to ensure potable water systems are clean and meet all OSHA water quality standards
    • Perform routine water system testing to ensure that domestic water is healthy and safe

Building Air Quality

Facilities Management has retrofitted approximately 95% of campus core-funded building air-handling system filters to Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 14 filters. The remaining 5% of buildings either have operable windows, window A/C units, or air handlers that are too small to fit the larger, thicker MERV 14 filters. Those buildings have been retrofitted to as highest MERV-rated filter possible.

The American Society of Heating Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed MERV to quantify a filter’s ability to trap various particles. MERV values vary from 1-16. The higher the MERV value, the more efficient the filter is at trapping airborne particles. Hospitals and superior commercial buildings primarily use MERV 14 filters. With MERV 14 filters, we believe that we have achieved a high-capture efficiency rating with minimal retrofit costs.

See a list of MERV filter ratings for core-funded buildings.

For more information about MERV, see Protecting Building Occupants from Exposure to Biological Threats.

As part of Facilities Management’s comprehensive preventative maintenance program, our skilled technicians inspect, clean and maintain all building air-handling systems biannually. Preventive maintenance includes:

  • Vacuuming and cleaning air intakes, catch basins and air-handling rooms
  • Washing air handler fins and coils
  • Checking and replacing all pre- and post-filters at least once a year, more often on smaller buildings
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all building air handling systems, including disinfecting cooling coils and condensate drains, to ensure fresh air intakes are as clean as possible
  • Cleaning, treating and testing the water in all closed and open loop systems

Clean Vehicles

Along with safety, Fleet Services is committed to providing our rental customers clean and sanitized vehicles; however, we have discontinued pandemic disinfection procedures. We realize that some customers may feel more comfortable knowing that high-touch surfaces have been disinfected so we will equip all rental vehicles with disinfecting towelettes and disposable gloves.

If you receive a vehicle that you feel has not been prepared properly, please call (858) 534-3485, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.


In collaboration with the Emergency Operations Center, our Sign Shop has created and posted COVID-19 signage at entrances of occupied buildings, including all restroom doors and outside elevators in core-funded campus buildings, Torrey Pines Center North and South, Early Care & Education centers and Elliott Field. We have also placed double-sided A-frame signs throughout campus and in parking structures. See current printable signs

Self-Cleaning Guidance

Facilities Management staff are working diligently to implement enhanced cleaning protocols and frequencies to meet increased cleaning demands required during the COVID-19 pandemic. While staff are cleaning and sanitizing common areas, we do not have the resources to clean every surface on campus multiple times a day.

To ensure your safety, and the safety of your fellow Tritons, we are asking that everyone clean their own space by wiping all surfaces that you touch on a daily basis. These areas include:

  • Faculty – In your labs and classrooms, including lab bench spaces and classroom podium areas
  • Students – In your classroom and study spaces, including your desktop, chair and arm rests
  • Staff – In your workspace, including your desk, computer keyboard and mouse, chair and phone

By recognizing that we are all in this together and accepting our social responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing our own spaces, we can help to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus community. Please do your part. We appreciate your support.

Questions? Contact the Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930, 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. weekdays.