Engineering Controls to Prevent the Transmission of COVID-19

Signage and Physical Barriers

Directional signage has been placed around campus to decrease foot traffic in congested areas. Academic building will be marked with one-way flow of traffic, physical distancing reminders, and other signs that will need to be followed by all community members. Many shared university offices, and service counters are utilizing plexiglass barriers, signage, or other equipment to create physical distance between employees and prevent the spread of Covid-19. All employees are encouraged to contact ehs@up.edu if they have questions about barriers or other engineering controls that can be utilized to promote physical distancing.

Air Filtration and HVAC Systems Maintenance

In compliance with Oregon OSHA’s Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Risk in the Workplace (OSHA-437-001-0744), and in line with CDC, OHA, and ASHRAE recommendations, the University of Portland has optimized the amount of outside air circulated through the existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems on campus to the extent possible while allowing the systems to operate as designed.

Tthe University of Portland has taken the following steps with building HVAC systems to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19:

  1. Inspect each building’s HVAC system to ensure it is operating as intended.
  2. Increase and optimize the outside air and exhaust systems for each building including ensuring all intake ports are cleaned, maintained, and cleared of any debris that may affect the function and performance of the ventilation system.
  3. Ensure spaces without mechanical ventilation have operable windows to allow for increased ventilation, (or provide standalone HEPA units).
  4. Expand building HVAC schedules to run two-hours prior and post occupancy; to flush the buildings while they are unoccupied.
  5. Replacing filters more frequently, and upgrading to MERV-13 filter media where systems allow.

In addition, all spaces on campus have been de-densified, and all people on campus are required to wear masks in shared areas to reduce the recirculation of air and transmission airborne pathogens.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/office-buildings.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html

https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2748.pdf

https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/guidance-for-re-opening-buildings.pdf