Place Based Protocols for Returning to Campus

Manhattan Area Technical College policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for staff, faculty, students, invited guests (e.g., contractors), and the public with whom we interact with. The health and well-being of our community are critical. Protecting the health of the Manhattan Tech community will require long-term effort and commitment, cooperation, teamwork and understanding – all values that our community has shown in a multitude of ways in recent months.

Working In Office Environments

If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from any others. Consider staggering chairs or desks to achieve 6 feet of distance. The use of a face mask/covering is required while in a public space. You should use your own computer, phone, headset and equipment, and not use colleagues’ equipment.

Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees and other co-workers such as:

  • Place visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape or signs to indicate where people should stand while waiting
  • Place one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space
  • Shared resources (e.g., community pen holders and pens, magazines in main office areas, etc.) should be removed.

If you work in a personal office, no more than one person should be in the office unless the required 6 feet of distance can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, face masks/coverings are required to limit exposure.

Face masks/coverings are required on campus in public settings (e.g., public spaces, hallways, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, campus outdoor spaces, in restrooms, etc.).

Using Restrooms

Restrooms usage should ensure physical distancing is achieved. This may require the use of signage to indicate when a restroom is occupied.

Meetings

Convening in groups carries a high risk of viral transmission. Gathering sizes are governed by college restrictions determined at each phase. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or in part using online collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom). When allowed, in-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of gathering sizes, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for physical distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables (e.g., consider staggering seats) or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing practices between attendees. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, Microsoft Teams, telephone, or other technology. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom).

Gatherings

Gatherings are not allowed at this time. Changes to gathering size restrictions will be communicated at a later date.

Food

If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Eating alone is encouraged. Observe occupancy limits and avoid crowding of break rooms. Wipe down the table and chair you used once you are done. Common break room food and beverage items should not be used (e.g., shared coffee pots, shared water pitchers, etc.). Reusable kitchenware (e.g., forks, plates) should not be used and should be replaced with disposable options.

Public Transportation

If you must take public transportation, it is encouraged that you wear a face mask/covering before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol as soon as possible and before removing your face mask/covering.

Building Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols

Enhanced cleaning protocols are in place on campus for high-risk/high-touch areas (e.g., door handles, light switches, handrails, interior doors, door push plates, common spaces, flat surfaces such as tables). Increased cleaning will be performed in restrooms in common areas. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at entrance and exit points on campus. Doors will be propped open, where possible.

If an individual in a space tests positive for COVID-19, the entire area might not be shut down. Whenever possible, the immediate space(s) occupied by the positive person will be deep-cleaned based on CDC protocols and will be re-opened once sanitized.

Entry to buildings will be regulated and monitored. Where applicable, your fob and/or key is required for entry to all buildings, and you may not hold or prop open exterior doors for any other person. After entering a building, sanitize your hands at the nearest sanitizer station and follow signage and all physical distancing guidelines outlined herein.

The college will identify suitable building access points. Where appropriate, departments should attempt to coordinate arrival and departure times of employees to reduce congestion during typical “rush hours” of a day’s schedule. For example, staff arrival and departures should be scheduled in 15-minute increments to reduce personal interactions at building access points. Staggered schedules should be considered for lunch and break times.

Once you have been authorized to return to campus, you should arrive and depart campus through the designated building access points. Staff should also report at the designated time, where applicable, to limit the number of people entering and exiting buildings at any one time.

Building entrance and exit points are being mapped for every building on campus. Buildings will include signage and visual markers, including directional signage signifying flow, physical distancing signage showing where people should stand (in certain buildings), and informational signage regarding protocols in the Return to Campus Plan. Be mindful of following the directional signage and be prepared to change your daily routine to adhere to the new circulation patterns.

Disinfecting protocols after a known COVID-19 positive case

Facilities staff will follow these protocols when disinfecting a space after a known COVID-19 positive case:

  1. If possible wait 24 to 72 hours before cleaning while increasing ventilation in the space (office, suite, floor[s] or building).
  2. Personnel entering the space will use the appropriate protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.).
  3. All personal items (books, backpacks, etc.) will be relocated and contained for later disinfection.
  4. The entire space will be cleaned using EPA-standard approved cleaning products.
  5. High-touch areas will be wiped or sprayed with additional disinfecting products.
  6. The entire space will be sprayed using EPA disinfecting products.
  7. Reoccupancy may occur 12 hours after the space has been sprayed.
  8. Before occupants are allowed to return, the space will receive a thorough inspection to include (as applicable):
    • Operation of all plumbing fixtures
    • Flushing of the HVAC system
    • Lighting

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

MATC will operate in accordance with the increased cleaning and disinfection protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, using products that are effective against the COVID-19 virus. Throughout the pandemic, MATC has monitored and adopted CDC recommendations.

The CDC’s “Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education,” May 30 updated guidance specifically recommends routine disinfecting and cleaning of surfaces and objects that are frequently touched using the cleaners typically used, according to the directions on the label. The CDC says that most common registered household disinfectants should be effective.

At a minimum, there will be twice daily disinfecting of high-touch areas throughout campus. Classrooms will be disinfected daily during routine cleaning. Sanitizing cleaner will be provided in classrooms and other spaces for use by the occupants. 

In accordance with CDC and college guidelines, all staff members and students will wear the required personal protective equipment including face masks/coverings while on campus.

In addition to normal cleaning routines, employees will also disinfect frequently touched surfaces or high-touch points and objects. Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will receive the minimal twice-daily disinfection are:

  • Tables in common spaces
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Door handles
  • Hand railings
  • Bathroom stalls
  • Sink handles
  • Grab bars
  • Water fountains

Sanitizing will be made available through each building so that commonly used surfaces and objects can be wiped down before use. For soft surfaces such as carpeted floors or fabric in seating areas, guidance indicates to continue cleaning with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces and disinfecting with appropriate product for the specific surfaces; vacuum carpets as usual.

Hand Sanitizing Products and Touchless Features

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located at key areas within all campus buildings.
  • Sanitizing products such as hand pumps will be available at key locations (ingress/egress, lobbies, etc.) and can be obtained throughout the facility.
  • Foot pulls will be installed on doors of high-use areas such as restrooms.
  • Soap and paper towel dispensers with touchless products are in restrooms.

These practices will continue to evolve as the CDC releases new recommendations.