Returning to Mines

A tool kit for safely returning to campus

to Mines

A tool kit for safely
returning to campus

Making Your Building and Office COVID-19 Safe

A Toolkit for Building and Office Managers

The built environment on campus—offices, classrooms, laboratories, common areas and more—will play an important role in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 among the Mines community. 

Below you will find planning guidelines for specific space types on campus, signage standards and additional guidance to help building, office and department managers set up safe work spaces and practices for returning employees and students.  

After reviewing the guidance provided in this toolkit, please submit a EHS Departmental Safety Plan for all campus spaces under your control using this web form. All academic and administrative departments are required to submit a Safety Plan by July 29, 2020, to ensure compliance with these guidelines.

Should you need assistance with completing your plan, please fill out the form as best you can and someone from the Return to Mines Task Force will be in touch to help.

General Information

General Guidelines for All Building and Department Managers

  • Use the space planning guidelines below to evaluate spaces within departmental control for the ability to ensure social distancing and reduce exposure. 
  • Identify ways to reduce the use of communal resources (shared kitchens) and increase internal cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch points. 
  • Ensure that signage is posted regarding handwashing and social distancing and to close spaces that should be restricted.  
  • Implement procedures and install appropriate signs to maintain social distancing and limit congregating.  
  • Coordinate the acquisition and placement of COVID safety supplies (face coverings, gloves, disinfectant) through your designated department administrator or lab administrator who has been granted access to the FAMIS COVID-19 Safety Supply Store  
  • Be familiar with the standard work order procedures (FAMIS) and related functions to request custodial, mail delivery and other facilities support.

Physical Distancing Metrics and Safety Practices

Mines recognizes that faculty and students feel uncertain and may be anxious to come back to campus in a public setting. To keep the campus community safe, we will be taking a “shared responsibility” approach. However, we also recognize faculty’s frontline role during this time and therefore encourage faculty to notice and intervene as needed to keep the campus community safe and healthy.

To keep campus spaces clean and sanitized, the following are common policies for all practices and activities scheduled on campus:

  • A 6-foot physical distance between people is the standard. If you are not certain what the guidelines are for a set circumstance, default to 6 feet as the minimum distance to maintain between people.
  • Mines will develop and post a physical distancing recommendation for each classroom. Faculty should be aware of the classroom’s social distancing plan, communicate to their students and make sure the students conform to the plan. A six-foot distance was overlaid onto every instructional space, reducing capacity by 22 to 80 percent.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face covering/mask while indoors. All students and faculty will be required to wear face masks in the correct way when interacting in a face-to-face setting. The mask should completely cover the nose (nasal openings at a minimum) and mouth and sit under the chin.
  • Faculty should talk to their students openly about the need for social distancing and wearing masks. Remind them to follow policies as you set them up. This will be new behavior that will require ongoing encouragement. Faculty are the authority on how the space gets used and can require a student to leave the room if they are not properly wearing a mask.

Campus Cleaning Protocols

Since many areas on campus will turn over multiple times a day, some disinfecting will need to be done by occupants/users of the space.

Examples of high-turnover areas:

  • Classrooms 
  • Teaching Labs 
  • Computer Labs 
  • Study Areas 
  • Residential Area Restrooms

In spaces that need to be disinfected by users, materials for disinfecting will be provided in the space:

  • Generally, paper towels and a non-irritant disinfectant will be provided in the space for wiping down desks, keyboards, chairs and other high-touch surfaces before each use. 
  • The incoming user of the space should take a paper towel, spray some disinfectant on it and then wipe down the area they will be using at the beginning of the class or study period 
  • Student Life residents will be given specific instructions about shared restrooms before move-in

Building Environmental Controls

ASHRAE has established recommendations for the operation of HVAC systems to help with indoor air quality in a pandemic environment. Recommendations that Mines will be following:

  • Regularly maintain HVAC systems and have a rigorous preventative maintenance program
  • Increase outside air ventilation
  • Disable demand control ventilation
  • Improve filtering in equipment that recirculates air where practical (MERV 13 is target)
  • Bypass air to air energy recovery ventilation
  • Maintain proper pressurizations including negative pressures in restrooms
  • Consider portable systems such as room air cleaners with HEPA filters for high risk areas with limited ventilation

In addition, the Environmental Controls Team has verified that hydronic systems have been flushed and operating in a safe manner for campus occupants to return with confidence.

The Environmental Controls Team is currently assessing buildings and individual spaces on campus to ensure systems are operating correctly and safe for occupancy.

  • Spaces needed for Summer II and older buildings with older systems are the priority.
  • The team will certify that the spaces are as safe as they can be for re-occupancy.
  • Some areas may be deemed to have inadequate ventilation. In those cases, there are four options that the team can discuss with the managing department:
    • Close off the area and place Out of Service signs
    • Make the space single occupancy or convert to a private office
    • Modify the systems (may not be possible or cost effective)
    • Utilize a portable HEPA air recirculating device or similar (limited supply)

The team is assessing the viability of portable HEPA filtration devices and other types of air cleaning devices that have been approved by ASHRAE for indoor air quality.  These devices will be limited in supply but can be used in high priority areas.

Learn how Facilities Management is using Mines HVAC systems to make sure campus buildings are as safe as possible »

COVID Signage Standards

To avoid confusion, it’s vital that our new COVID-19 building guidance be communicated visually via prominently placed signage around campus – including your building.

Slide from facility sign standards

Download COVID-19 Facility Sign Standards

Need a customized sign not listed here? Contact for assistance. 

COVID-19 Safety Supply Store

Departments can obtain hard-to-find virus-mitigation supplies from the COVID Safety Supply Store. Visit the COVID-19 Safety Supply Store website for more information and to see the current inventory.

Space-Specific Guidelines

Common Areas

  • Signs will be posted at all building entrances (window decal or A frame)
  • QR code will be applied to signs for ADA access
  • Blastercard access only (Summer II): Even if the door is already open, each person entering the building should scan their own Blastercard to allow for more effective contact tracing.
  • Masks required
  • Encourage people to stay to the right while walking hallways and stairs
  • Maintain a 6-foot separation from other people
  • Water fountains have out of service signs on them (Out of Service signs available through COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • Bottle filling stations can be used (Bottle Filler Only signs available through CSSS)
  • Hand sanitizing stations available near entry doors and stairwells (Hand Sanitizer Station signs available through CSSS)
  • Elevator occupancy signMaximum occupancy signs will be posted for each elevator
  • Floor signs/circles will be installed to indicate where to stand within the elevator.
  • Post signs near elevator controls encouraging use of elbows to depress elevator buttons and reminding users to wash hands after exiting the elevator.
  • Restroom occupancy signTake out of service individual stalls, urinals and sinks to allow for appropriate physical distancing. (Out of Service signs available in COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • Indicate out-of-service fixtures with signs.
  • Identify frequently touched door handles and mechanisms and investigate options to implement no/reduced-touch options such as foot-operated door pulls/pedals, or sensor-triggered doors.
  • When possible, install no-hands paper towel dispensers.
  • Post signs at mirrors and exit doors with reminders to wash hands. (Handwashing posters available in Safety Store).
  • For academic building bathrooms, place showers out of service. (Out of Service signs available in Safety Store)

Gathering Spaces


  • Use “Do Not Sit Here” signs to close off spaces/desks/chairs in order to configure space to accommodate 6-foot physical distancing between users. (Signs available in COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • Post signs with maximum occupancy numbers in the lounge/study areas, visible from several perspectives. (Occupancy signs available in Safety Supply Store).
  • In enclosed areas, provide a separate entrance and exit from the space when possible. (Enter/exit circles available in Safety Supply Store)
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for individuals to clean their areas before each use.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in the lounge/study area.
  • Identify frequently touched areas (doors, cabinets, etc.) and investigate options to implement no/reduced-touch options such as door removal, card access, foot-operated door pulls/pedals, or sensor-triggered doors.
  • Take out of service or remove all common-use items such as games, musical instruments or puzzles. Use signs to indicate items that are out of service. (Out of Service signs available in Safety Supply Store)
  • No waiting. Individuals should arrive by appointment only and wait outside the building.
  • Seating should be removed or signage should be placed to indicate it may not be used. (Do Not Sit Here signs available in Safety Supply Store)
  • Signage should be placed on or near the door indicating entrance procedures. Example: Stop – Please wait outside and call the person you’re visiting for instructions.
  • Lobbies may still get a few people who come in to speak with someone at a reception desk.
    • Desks should have Plexiglass screens installed.
    • The carpentry shop can assist with adding these. Departments should submit a work order.
  • Atrium gathering spaces should be closed. Alternatively, moveable furniture should be arranged to meet the 6′ distancing guidelines. Extra furniture should be removed or have signage indicating it may not be used.
  • If possible, close to general use, due to size and air circulation issues. (Out of Service signs available through COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • Encourage virtual meetings (Teams, Zoom)
  • Consider repurposing spaces as temporary staff/student employee office space, to provide physical distancing for those in group office environments
  • Utilize the 6-foot circle of distancing if used by a group
  • If possible, close to general use, due to size and air circulation issue. (Out of Service signs available through Safety Supply Store)
  • Consider repurposing small study rooms as temporary staff/student employee office space, to provide physical distancing for those in group office environments
  • If kept open, restrict to use by one person at a time
  • Provide cleaning supplies and signage for users to clean before each use

Best approach is to avoid using these spaces altogether. 

  • Bring lunch that does not need refrigeration or a microwave
  • Use your own silverware/plasticware
  • Wash utensils at home
  • Brew your own coffee/tea/preferred morning beverage at home
  • Eliminate seating in space. Eat outside or in your private office. (Do Not Sit signs available in COVID-19 Safety Supply Store.)
  • When possible, provide a separate entrance and exit from the space. (Enter/Exit signs available in Safety Store.)
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for individuals to clean their areas before each use.
  • Eliminate reusable kitchen items (flatware, dishes,and cups) and cleaning tools (sponges, brushes, towels). Replace with single-use options.
  • Replace shared appliances with single-use or no-touch options (coffee makers, ice/water dispensers). If no option is available, disallow use of the shared appliances. (Out of Service signs available in Safety Store).
  • Provide hand sanitizer at entrances to lounges/break rooms.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Identify frequently touched areas (doors, cabinets, etc.) and investigate options to implement no-touch options such as door removal, foot-operated door pulls/pedals or sensor-triggered doors.

Office Spaces

  • Establish maximum occupancy number for each space and post signage (COVID Occupancy signs available through Safety Store)
  • Configure space to accommodate 6-foot physical distancing between users
  • Furniture to be spaced apart or signage applied to achieve distancing (Do Not Sit signs available through Safety Store)
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for individuals to clean areas before each use
  • Stagger service point times and break times to avoid congregating
  • Remove common touch items – magazines, candy jars, staplers, pens, tape dispensers, white board markers/erasers, etc.


  • Plexiglas shield for service counter
  • Waiting customers should be spaced 6 to 9 feet apart (Floor circles available through COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • Customer at service point should stand 2 to 3 feet back from counter
  • Sanitize both sides of counter routinely
  • Use hand sanitizer between transactions
  • Minimize time with each customer
  • Breaks and/or rotation schedule at service point
  • Consider limiting total hours at service point
  • Encourage appointments or alternate communicate mode (email, Teams, Zoom)
  • If possible, front desk personnel should work in a location where they can see walk-ins (to limit the number of customers walking through the suite).
  • All points for Walk-up Service Points/Office Suites, plus:
    • Limit face-to-face interactions to single designated area (reception area)
    • Put on mask prior to standing up in cubicle (short cubicle dividers)
    • Traffic flow in single direction around cubicle groups (Directional floor circles available through CSSS)
    • Minimize time spent in common areas
    • Masks must be worn when seated at a cubicle workstation if the adjoining office is simultaneously occupied; a cubicle wall is not a substitute for social distancing and the face mask is a virus source control measure.


  • Use physical barriers and signage to manage queueing in front of or at the entrance to the reception desk. (See recommendations for administrative spaces.)
  • Consider installing Plexiglas barriers at high-visited areas such as reception desks and check-in points.
  • Place appropriate signage at entrances indicating how to proceed.
  • Use ‘Do Not Sit Here’ signs on chairs in order to configure space to meet occupancy requirements. (Signs available from COVID-19 Safety Supply Store)
  • When possible, provide a separate entrance and exit from the space. (Enter/exit circles available from CSSS)
  • Use directional signs to indicate customer flow through space (Directional floor arrows are available from CSSS)
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for individuals to clean their work areas before each use.
  • Provide hand sanitizer at entrances to department reception areas.
  • Identify frequently touched areas (doors, cabinets, etc.) and investigate options to implement no/reduced touch options such as door removal, card access, foot-operated door pulls/pedals, or sensor-triggered doors.

Classrooms and Labs

  • Classroom lectureMake sure all students are facing the same direction
  • Ensure all students are wearing a face mask. 
  • Ensure students are using only seats that are marked usable. Taped off/signed rows, tables and/or seats should be left unused.
  • Do not allow students to move chairs or tables around. Be sure to maintain the recommended distancing between students and between students and yourself.
  • Follow maximum occupancy signage outside each room.
  • Some students may opt-in to remote learning. Record lectures so students not on campus can view later or watch live or develop alternate ways for the remote students to engage in the course with as rich a learning experience as possible. The Trefny Center can help you think about different strategies.
  • Lab settingDevelop a physical distancing plan for any course that will be taught in a lab.
  • Require appropriate attire and PPE.
  • If students are expected to work in teams or groups in labs – several things to consider:
    • Verify each student and instructor is healthy prior to entering the lab, this can be done by having each student sign in (using their own pen) and acknowledging they are healthy and not experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Labs could use the employee health screening form for lab entry sign in.
    • Assign an instructor/TA the role of COVID safety coordinator who will verify appropriate compliance with the COVID safety precautions. The safety coordinator shall always remind participants of the need to socially distance and keep their face masks on. Non-compliant participants will be directed to leave the laboratory, and repeat offenders will be referred to the Dean of Students.
    • Students will always wear face masks. If the face mask has ties, the ties must not dangle below the chin. Cloth masks are not a substitute for maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from others.
    • Students who become ill during class will notify their instructor. If the student believes they may have symptoms consistent with COVID19 they will call the Mines Health Center to report the illness and obtain guidance on what to do.
    • Encourage social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Request face shields for students who will be working within 6 feet of each other. A cloth mask may not suffice when social distancing cannot be maintained.
    • Emphasize hand hygiene — inform students where the handwashing facilities are located and how to properly disinfect surfaces in the lab.
      • Have students wipe down shared equipment after they use the equipment and before the next person uses the equipment.
      • Use an equipment compatible/appropriate disinfectant spray such as Oxivir, 25A or 70% alcohol and paper towels to wipe down shared equipment.
      • Then direct students to wash their hands after they complete the equipment disinfecting.
      • NOTE: Disposable gloves are getting harder to obtain. Gloves are not to be worn with moving machinery.
    • Determine the appropriate number of students who may simultaneously occupy a laboratory workstation, providing them sufficient space around them to maintain adequate social distancing.
  • Establish a group rotation schedule to allow each student subgroup time to work hands-on in the lab and then rotate out and complete their assignment remotely.
  • Avoid equipment sharing if feasible. If not, ensure students disinfect any equipment before use. Do not allow students to visit each other’s workstations unless essential.

Consider developing labs that can be done remotely. Examples include simulation-based labs.

  • COVID shop orientation: Address specific requirements for maker space
  • Equipment disinfection: Wipe triggers, power switch, control panels, chucks, cords and handles (common touch points) before use.
  • Make sure mask ties are short, pulled back and not below your chin.
  • Promote social distancing but never work alone.
  • Address traffic flow with signs
  • Sign in/sign out when entering/exiting
  • Wash hands frequently
  • 1-on-1 in-person equipment training (no large class sizes)
  • Develop operating schedules for large, immovable equipment that cannot be effectively distanced.

Campus Living

The First-Year Live-On Requirement has been suspended for 2020-21, and Residence Life has created more single-occupancy rooms this year to reduce density in the halls. Roughly 20% of the residence hall rooms will be kept open for quarantine and isolation rooms should those be needed by sick students and their roommate.

  • Use ‘do not sit here’ signs to close off spaces/desks/chairs in order to configure space to accommodate physical distancing between users.
  • Post signs with maximum occupancy numbers in the lounge/study areas/laundry rooms
  • Masks required when you are out of your room
  • Maintain a 6-foot separation from other people
  • Students can arrange furniture in their rooms to accommodate maximum distancing. All provided furniture must remain in the room
  • No guests will be allowed in the Residence Halls
  • Shared restrooms will have assigned fixtures to limit cross contamination
  • Students will be asked to clean their spaces more frequently
  • Mines MarketContactless check-in
  • Take-out encouraged
  • Expanded grab-and-go
  • No self-service stations
  • Stations and seating reconfigured for social distancing
  • Directional signage to maintain proper flow and social distancing; separate entrance and exits
  • Enhanced food safety and additional training/PPE expectations for staff
  • Meal plans redesigned for more flexibility
  • Added 5 meal exchanges for each plan (meant to address reducing demand in Mines Market)
  • Increased timeframes to change meal plans during the semester
  • Allow first-year residents to select from smaller meal plans typically reserved for sophomores and up
  • Enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols
  • Restrictions on capacity in dining locations
  • Adjust availability of food stations based on social distancing limitations
  • Take out encouraged in retail and resident dining
  • Grubhub app integration for contactless pick-up and delivery in retail and concessions
  • Possible crowd control technology under consideration to manage demand and occupancy limits across campus
  • Adjusted traffic patterns
  • All members must submit a self-health screening prior to leaving their home each day as required by Mines.
  • Restrooms will remain open. Locker rooms will only be for pool users
  • Use of all lockers in the Rec Center is temporarily banned
  • All members must come dressed to workout/ No changing at the Rec Center (with the exception of swimmers)
  • Fitness disinfecting wipes, disinfecting spray and hand sanitizer will be located throughout the Rec Center and should be used before each use
  • Showers are temporarily closed
  • Increase HVAC turnover of air handlers
  • All water fountains will be covered. Patrons will be able to refill water bottles that they bring from home at water bottle filling stations
  • Many doors will be propped open so patrons do not have to touch door handles
  • Front Desk:
    • Spots marked on floor to have social distancing at the Front Desk
    • No Cash allowed/ Credit Cards only
    • Plexiglass barrier present at Front Desk
    • Little to no equipment checkout (no soccer balls or basketballs etc.)
    • All Patrons entering the building must swipe in
    • Rental Center

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