UMD Facilities COVID-19 FAQs

Facilities COVID-19 FAQs

Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of COVID-19, the university’s response continues to evolve. As the situation progresses, UMD facilities teams will respond accordingly.   (Updated Summer/Fall 2021)

{Click HERE to jump to Residential Facilities information.)


FM logo

I. FM BUILDING SERVICES / HOUSEKEEPING

FM is responsible for UMD’s academic and administrative spaces, the infrastructure that supports campus buildings and the landscape that surrounds them. There are other departments on campus with professional facilities/cleaning organizations, including:

  • Department of Residential Facilities
  • Adele Stamp Student Union
  • University Health Center
  • Dining Services
  • Recreation and Wellness 
  • Department of Transportation

The Facilities Management Building Maintenance team has a long-standing commitment to cleaning for health and environment. Our dedicated housekeeping staff has worked throughout the pandemic, and as campus resumes full-capacity operations, the team remains committed to cleaning to a high standard of cleanliness and sanitization in accordance with CDC guidelines and Green Seal standards for commercial and institutional cleaning services (GS-42).  

The FM Building Services Housekeeping team is GS-42 certified and has received training and are well-equipped with the tools and products needed to perform their job effectively. The team utilizes a selection of environmentally responsible cleaning equipment, chemical disinfectants and techniques that meet the CDC guidelines, are sustainable and maximize productivity and are focused on cleaning for health.

FM Building Services Tasks and Frequencies

For additional information, click here to access the FM Building Services Tasks and Frequencies chart.

 

While the CDC currently offers no guidelines for cleaning supplies, it has addressed guidance for disinfection products. Facilities Management will continue to use disinfection products in accordance with the CDC's guidance and EPA’s listings for use against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

Facilities Management provides services per its routine cleaning frequency in accordance to CDC guidance. 

FM Building Services will clean office suites and spaces with key access on a weekly basis, including recycling removal, dusting, wiping cleared horizontal surfaces, disinfecting door handles/contact points, mopping and vacuuming. Building occupants maintain primary responsibility for daily cleaning of their office/break room spaces. Office equipment, including shared equipment, or personal belongings will continue to be the responsibility of each work unit and/or employee. 

Also, additional FM cleaning services (i.e. carpet shampooing) in academic and administrative buildings may be scheduled by submitting a work request with the Facilities Management Customer Response Center. Please be aware, these services are on a reimbursable basis. 

Facilities Management only provides supplies to be used by FM staff during routine cleanings. However, we do provide alcohol and disinfectant wipes in active general purpose classrooms so that students and faculty can wipe down their personal space at the start of each class

Departments should continue to provide their own supplies for their teams as needed. To make it easy for departments to obtain cleaning/sanitizing products, UMD’s Procurement and Business Services (PBS) offers an online catalog of items that are currently stocked for delivery or curbside pick-up.

Yes. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in high traffic areas such as elevators, entrances, exits, and time clocks. Hand sanitizer is used to clean hands when soap and water is not available. It is not meant to be used on surfaces.

Housekeeping staff will monitor/replenish stations daily (as supplies allow), however, if a station is empty, refill requests can be made using the on-line FM work ticket system or by calling the FM Customer Response Center (CRC) at 5-2222. 

II. BUILDING SYSTEMS -  HVAC & WATER

UMD academic and administrative buildings are heated, cooled and ventilated by a variety of HVAC systems. Many of our buildings provide combined ventilation and heating or cooling through air handling systems. Some of our buildings decouple heating and cooling from ventilation, this is most prevalent with fan coil (window) units in many of the campus' older buildings. When fan coil units are deployed, natural ventilation is the main source of ventilation. If you have questions about building and HVAC systems in your workspace, please contact the Facilities Management Customer Support Center at fmcrc@umd.edu or 301-405-2222.

Facilities Management closely follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air‐Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). FM convened an evaluation task force to assess campus HVAC systems based on ASHRAE’s COVID-19 guidance, and system operations focused on ventilation and filtration have been modified where appropriate. The team replaced filters with higher efficiency filters where it will not have a detrimental impact on the operation of the building HVAC system.

FM's HVAC work center continues to monitor systems and perform routine preventative maintenance to ensure proper ventilation and appropriate levels of filtration are provided.

Most campus buildings have adequate ventilation and it is not necessary to open windows. Opening windows in a building that is air conditioned will cause the system to not operate correctly.

In locations where ventilation is limited, opening windows can be beneficial when weather conditions are temperate—however, allowing unconditioned, unfiltered warm and humid air to enter the space will impact moisture content in that space, and invite other environmental allergens (pollen) into the building.

Should you choose to open windows, please do so selectively and limit this to the room you are occupying.  Be certain to close all windows when you leave the location.  Please do not attempt to pry open 'stuck' windows

If you have questions about windows and/or ventilation in your workspace, please contact the Facilities Management Customer Response Center (301-405-2222 / fmcrc@umd.edu).

 

Yes.  Facilities Management routinely operated building water fixtures in all academic and administrative buildings in an effort to prevent water from becoming stagnant from no or low water use, and domestic water systems tests to ensure water systems and features (e.g., sink faucets, drinking fountains) are safe to use have been performed.

Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that consumable water lines attached to personal or department-owned devices, such as kitchen sinks, coffee makers and ice dispensers, be run 3-5 minutes before use for the first few weeks you are back on campus. 

Finally, drinking fountains are reopened. If fountains are not taped off, they are operable.

As part of re-opening the campus from a period of low census and the resulting low flow of water through building water systems, FM is routinely flushing a majority of the “downstream” water features and water dispensing equipment—sink faucets and drinking fountains—to ensure the highest quality water continues to be provided to the campus community.  There is, however, limited “downstream” equipment that is connected to the building plumbing system which does not fall within the authority of the facilities department. We recommend that departments perform the following actions for refrigerators with water dispensers or ice makers supplied by the building water system:

  • Drain, clean, and sanitize the ice maker
  • Replace any filters in the refrigerator or in the water line leading to the refrigerator
  • Dump the first three loads of ice after cleaning
  • For refrigerators with water, run the water for 3-5 minutes

III. CONSTRUCTION

Commercial construction was deemed essential commerce per Governor Hogan's executive orders and work continued on construction projects around the state and on campus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Click here for more information regarding current construction projects.

UMD has developed Contractor Requirements for Working on Campus During COVID-19 and Instructions for Campus Departments on Working with Contractors in campus locations during COVID-19.  Click on the below links to access this important information.

If you have questions, please contact Procurement and Business Services.

IV. FM CUSTOMER RESPONSE CENTER / FM WORK REQUESTS

Click here to submit an FM Work Request online. If you require urgent facilities assistance, please call the Customer Support Center at 301-405-2222. Other emergencies, including gas smells, smoke or unusual odors should be reported to Public Safety – call 911 from a campus phone, or 301-405-3333.

Residential Facilities logo

V. Residential Facilities

The Department of Residential Facilities is responsible for the maintenance in all on-campus residence halls and Greek chapter houses.  Residential Facilities provides housekeeping services in all on-campus residence halls. On-campus Greek chapter houses are cleaned by a private contractor individually contracted by each chapter. Additionally, Residential Facilities also maintains and cleans RecWell facilities and cleans Dining Services 251 North Dining Hall and Department of Transportation administrative offices. 

Residence halls and chapter houses are heated, cooled and ventilated by a variety of HVAC systems. Many of our buildings provide combined ventilation and heating or cooling through air handling systems. Some of our buildings decouple heating and cooling from ventilation, this is most prevalent with fan coil units (FCU’s) in many of the campus' older buildings. When FCU's are deployed, natural ventilation is the main source of ventilation. If you have questions about building and HVAC systems in your residence hall or chapter house, please contact the Residential Facilities 24 Hour Service Center at resfacilities@umd.edu or 301-314-9675.

Residential Facilities has been working to assess HVAC building systems to ensure proper ventilation and appropriate levels of filtration are being provided. We are conducting normal preventative maintenance on these systems to ensure proper operation. The staff is replacing filters with higher efficiency filters where it will not interfere with the operation of the building HVAC system.

Additionally, Residential Facilities participated in a campus-wide evaluation task force assessing campus HVAC systems based on ASHRAE’s COVID-19 guidance to evaluate various operational modifications that might be beneficial in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus. 

In accordance with recommendations generated by this task force, DRF has placed HEPA filtration units in high occupancy spaces within residence halls that do not have updated ventilation systems with outside air supplied.  

For more information, please see UMD COVID-19 Guidelines for Building Systems.

 

Beginning August 10, Residential Facilities will be turning on air-conditioning services in those buildings that have air conditioning. They will continue to monitor air-conditioning in each building on a daily basis and make adjustments as needed.  Students in air conditioned buildings should notify Residential Facilities 24 hour Service Center (301-314-9675) to report any problems with the air conditioning in their room or building.

Students in air-conditioned buildings are reminded to keep their windows closed during the cooling season.  Many student rooms have portable dehumidifiers connected to existing fan coil units and will automatically pump excess moisture from the space into existing drains. 

In other air-conditioned halls where infrastructure is not available for dehumidifiers, maintenance personnel will monitor humidity closely to deploy additional moisture mitigation measures as needed.

 

Residential Facilities performed domestic water systems tests in all buildings to ensure water systems and features (e.g., sink faucets, drinking fountains) are safe to use.  Residential Facilities will continue testing and flushing systems once a month until buildings are occupied.

Building Services staff are responsible for cleaning all public areas in the residence halls.  Over the summer, all residence hall student rooms and public spaces have been thoroughly cleaned.   DRF staff adhere to CDC standards for Blood Borne Pathogen and COVID-19 disinfection and cleaning. The department utilizes a disinfectant that is listed on the EPA List N. These disinfectants on the list meet EPA's criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Additional details can be found in the UMD COVID-19 Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection.

Students are responsible for cleaning their own room and taking trash and recycling out to the building dumpsters.  Students in suites and apartments are responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms, common areas and, in the apartments, the kitchens. 

Residential Facilities Building Services Tasks and Frequencies

The on-campus Greek chapter houses hire a private contractor to clean during the summer months and throughout the academic year.  During the academic year, the contractor is responsible for the cleaning of all public or common areas including building kitchen/dining areas as well as community bathrooms.  The contracted cleaner will be adhering to the UMD COVID-19 Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection. Each chapter establishes the frequency of cleaning for their house if it is beyond the University’s minimum expectation of five days per week and once daily for bathrooms. Students are responsible for cleaning and maintaining their individual rooms.

 

Students should wear their face coverings into the bathroom and only remove it when necessary (such as when showering or brushing their teeth).  Unvaccinated students should maintain physical distance between themselves and others while in shared bathrooms. When possible, it is strongly recommended that unvaccinated students keep one sink open between them and others.  

Residential Facilities staff will be monitoring the operation of bathroom exhaust systems throughout the year to ensure that all bathrooms are properly exhausted.  

 

Students living on campus are expected to clean their own room, suite or apartment, including any private bathrooms.  Students should bring cleaning supplies with them when they return to campus.  Students are also responsible for taking their trash and recycling out to dumpsters adjacent to their residence halls. 

Lobbies and classrooms will be provided with stand-alone hand sanitizing stations, as supplies allow, either wall-mounted or pedestal type at high traffic areas such as elevators, entrances and exits.  Hand sanitizer is used to clean hands when soap and water is not available.  It is not meant to be used on surfaces.

Surfaces on laundry machines are cleaned by Housekeeping staff as part of the high-touch cleaning process.  Students should wash their hands after using laundry machines, just as they should after spending time in any other common area.  Unvaccinated students will be expected to follow physical distancing guidelines and wear a face covering when using the laundry room facilities.

Call the Residential Facilities 24-Hour Service Center (301-314-9675) to report any problems in your room or other space in the building.  Don’t assume someone else has reported the problem!  Residential Facilities have staff on call to respond to evening or weekend emergencies that cannot wait until the next business day.  

Residential Facilities staff always wear a “DRF” shirt/jacket as well as their University ID. Students do not need to be home when a staff member arrives to complete a service request.  Staff have a key to access the space and will leave a completed service request behind in the room (or House Director’s mailbox in chapter houses) and will lock the door when they leave.