Cleaning, Air Systems and Water

Brown is aligning cleaning frequency with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Critical to supporting the health of all who use campus facilities, and in particular dining and residence halls, is intensified levels of cleaning by University custodial staff. Brown’s Department of Facilities Management has developed and implemented, with the assistance of external consultants, a detailed plan for extra custodial support that underlies both Brown’s academic operations and overall campus plans.

Brown Facilities Management has been actively engaged in operations for 2020-21 that include:

  • Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance and align cleaning frequency.
  • Adjusting cleaning and disinfecting needs based on type of occupancy, intensity of use and hours of operations, resulting in increased routine cleaning and disinfection.
  • Deploying touchless devices: soap and sanitizer dispensers, paper towels, faucets, door access, etc.
  • Using products that meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disinfection criteria.
  • Encouraging students, faculty and staff to keep their personal items (e.g., cell phones, laptops and other electronics) and personal work and living spaces clean.
  • Encouraging students, faculty and staff to use disinfectant wipes to wipe down shared desks, lab equipment and other shared objects and surfaces before use.
  • Ensuring there is adequate ventilation when using cleaning products.
  • Custodial Services cleans and disinfects high-touch surfaces seven days per week.

Facilities Cleaning & Disinfection FAQ

Air Systems and Ventilation

The University has also taken steps to increase air exchanges and fresh air ventilation in buildings. The majority of Brown’s research and laboratory spaces operate with 100% outside air supply, with air exchange rates that meet or exceed American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers standards relative to COVID-19 guidance. For these buildings, Facilities Management continues to perform regular preventive maintenance and evaluate filtration requirements to reduce airborne transmission and inspect filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed.

Where applicable, demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) has been disabled and outdoor air ventilation minimum settings have been increased, resulting in greater levels of fresh outdoor air introduced. The University has also improved central air filtration.

The University’s academic, administrative and classroom spaces operate with a variety of mixed air ventilation systems. Most of these systems are intended to provide comfort control only. In these areas, Facilities Management performs regular preventive maintenance and evaluates filtration requirements to reduce airborne transmission and inspect filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed. In addition, run times for air handling systems (where available) have been increased to enhance air filtration and DCV has also been disabled, where applicable, in these buildings.

Water Systems

The University is taking the following steps to reduce the risk of illness being transmitted through the water system: regular flushing of domestic water lines to including sinks, toilets, showers, traps and seals; flushing or, where required by RIDOH, closing drinking water fountains and hydration stations; continuing with Brown’s water treatment program for mechanical systems.

Facilities HVAC & Water Systems FAQ

Planning for Positive COVID-19 Cases

When an occupant of a Brown University building is suspected or has been confirmed as a positive case of COVID-19, the Facilities Management team follows a predefined plan and procedure in response. A building-specific online questionnaire has been developed to gather all needed information and determine what areas must be cleaned or disinfected.

Brown’s Environmental Health and Safety office assists in making a determination on what portions of the building should be evacuated and/or occupants temporarily relocated, and performs specialty cleaning in coordination with a third-party services provider that may be required for laboratory spaces. This work follows CDC guidelines and recommendations for wait times, cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Last updated July 6, 2021. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.