PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines

The COVID-19 pandemic has made purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies very challenging. A team of representatives from Facilities Services, Environmental Health and Safety Services and Purchasing is centrally procuring COVID-19 supplies for the University and leveraging available resources to build the University’s stockpile of supplies as quickly as possible. This centralized approach provides for consistent, cost-effective bulk purchasing of COVID-19 safety and cleaning supplies that align with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations. Individual departments should not purchase these supplies independently.

The following guidelines are provided to assist schools, colleges and departments in determining their COVID-19 safety supply needs in preparation for reopening and the start of the fall semester. The guidelines express what supplies are currently available and provide information for school, college and departmental administrators to consider in collectively determining their areas’ supply needs. Departments must be considerate of the supply limitations and plan for their initial needs only. Departments must not stockpile supplies to have for future use. Additional supplies will be available as delayed orders are fulfilled and supply chain availability improves.

Face Masks

  • Cloth masks: Faculty, staff and students will be provided with reusable (washable) cloth masks upon return to campus. The cloth masks provided are intended for long-term use. Individuals must safely maintain, clean and reuse their cloth face masks. Additional or replacement cloth face masks will be provided if there is a justifiable need (i.e., poor fit, damaged, stained, etc.) Face masks may also be brought from home and worn as long as it meets the CDC’s face mask recommendations and does not contain symbols, words or objects that violate any University policies.
  • Disposable masks: Everyone is encouraged to use the reusable cloth masks instead of requesting disposable masks. Schools, colleges and departments will be provided with a supply of disposable face masks, if needed, to have for:
      • Visitors
      • Staff with approved accommodations to receive them
      • Staff who require them due to the nature of the work (i.e., food handling, hazardous material laboratories)
  • N95 masks: The availability of N95 masks (respirators) is very limited. N95 masks are reserved for health care workers and first responders who have the potential to directly care for or transport a person with suspected COVID-19, and for faculty and staff who use a chemical or material that requires N95 respiratory protection.
  • Face shields: Clear face shields will be offered to faculty, staff and students where prudent for the nature of their work and/or their work areas. This may include work in research laboratories, in locations where maintaining sufficient social distancing is challenging, and for approved accommodations. The face shields are reuseable and can be disinfected after use with disinfectant spray or disinfecting wipes.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Supplies

Spray bottles of EPA-approved surface disinfectants and dry paper wipes will be provided for use in supporting the cleaning and disinfecting of personal and shared departmental work areas. Due to extreme supply shortages, disinfecting wipes are not currently available for distribution.

Disinfecting supplies should be available for frequent disinfection of shared and common use areas and high touch surfaces. A single bottle must be used by multiple employees and in multiple areas until supply availability improves.

Departments will be responsible for managing the use of disinfecting supplies. Departments should develop a plan for securing and tracking the distribution and use of disinfecting supplies within their department.

  • Office and administrative areas: Disinfecting supplies should be available for the following types of administrative locations. A single bottle can be used to serve multiple areas. Due to supply shortages, a separate bottle cannot be provided for each individual employee or location:
      • Conference rooms
      • Kitchenette or break rooms
      • Shared equipment (such as copiers)
      • Reception and service areas
      • Centrally to be accessed by multiple employees for use in cleaning departmental and personal work areas. Anticipate having 1 spray bottle per every 10 employees when estimating how many bottles are needed to provide centrally for employees to share.
  • Research laboratory and workshop areas: A bottle of disinfectant and dry paper wipes should be available in each research laboratory or workshop area. Facilities Services will supply disinfecting supplies for academic teaching and computer laboratories. Departments do not need to request for supplies for academic teaching spaces.
  • University vehicles: Disinfecting supplies should be available in a central location inside a building for vehicle users to disinfect the vehicle upon entry and before exiting vehicle to leave for use by others.
  • Classrooms (registrar and captive classrooms): Schools, colleges and departments do not need to request cleaning supplies for classrooms and other teaching areas, including computer and instructional labs. Facilities Services is developing a plan to provide disinfecting supplies for academic teaching locations.
  • Residence halls and student areas: Departments do not have to request cleaning supplies for residence halls and other predominant student areas. A plan to have supplies for these areas is being developed.

Due to the limited availability of spray nozzles and bottles, empty disinfectant spray bottles must not be disposed of. Empty spray bottles should be returned to EHSS or to Facilities Services.

Safety and use information for the specific COVID-19 disinfecting products being distributed are available.

Technology Sanitizing

Alcohol based sanitizing wipes should be used to sanitize publicly shared information technology (IT)  equipment including keyboards, monitors, microphones, etc., before and after each use. Regular disinfecting sprays and wipes may damage sensitive IT equipment.

Schools, colleges and departments should request IT sanitizing wipes for their captive computer labs/clusters, conference rooms and other spaces which have shared IT equipment.

Sanitizing supplies do not have to be requested for IT equipment in registrar or captive classrooms or computer labs managed by ITS.

Hand Sanitizer

Everyone is encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap and water throughout the day, especially after they have been in a public place, used a shared object, or coughed or sneezed. When soap and water is not readily available, an approved hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol should be used. The CDC recommends hand washing with soap and water whenever possible as the best means of hand sanitization.

  • Building hand sanitizer stations: Facilities Services has installed at least one new hand sanitizer station in the main entrance or lobby of each building. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been ordered and once received will be installed at additional building entrances and outside the elevator on each floor. These stations are available for everyone’s use and will be refilled as needed. Departments do not need to request hand sanitizer stations.
  • Personal bottles of hand sanitizer: A personal bottle of hand sanitizer will be provided to faculty and staff in the Welcome Kits they receive when they return to campus. Employees must keep their personal bottle of hand sanitizer for use at work. Except for unique situations, the University does not currently plan to replenish or continually supply personal bottles of hand sanitizer to employees. Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water whenever possible and to use building hand sanitizer stations.
  • Departmental hand sanitizer bottles: In locations where access to a sink or the building hand sanitizer stations is not readily available, a bottle of hand sanitizer may be requested to have available centrally in the area. When access to a sink is available, hand washing with soap and water is best.

Gloves

Gloves are not included as COVID-19 related supplies. Per guidelines from the CDC, gloves are not required or recommended for general use to protect against COVID-19. Gloves for use by faculty and staff in health care settings, research labs, Food Services and Facilities Services as appropriate should be requested through normal procurement methods.

Thermometers

At this time, individual departments do not need to have thermometers.

COVID-19 Supply Request Form

Schools, colleges and departments are encouraged to follow these guidelines and compile their initial supply needs for the resumption of on-campus operations this summer and full campus re-opening in August. Departments must be considerate of the supply limitations and plan for their initial needs only. Departments must not request supplies to stockpile future use. Additional or replenished supplies will be available when needed.

Once compiled, each school, college or department should submit a single COVID-19 request form to request their initial supply needs. Departments should indicate the time period when the supplies will be needed on the form. This will allow for the limited stock of supplies to be distributed to meet the most immediate needs and allow for the supply stockpile to be amassed to accommodate future supply needs. Excessive requests will be flagged for review by University leadership.

Supplies can either be delivered directly to the requesting department or picked up Monday through Friday at Lyman Hall Room 032, by appointment. For immediate requests, please allow two to three days for orders to be filled or delivered after the request form is submitted. The requester will be notified if delivery will be delayed or if their full request cannot be fulfilled due to supply shortages.

These guidelines will be updated as needed to reflect current guidance from public health professionals and supply availability. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Environmental Health and Safety Services at ehss@syr.edu.