Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Effective August 10, 2021, campus health and safety protocols for the fall semester have shifted, as outlined in a joint message from the Provost and Senior Vice President for Operations. As the health and safety situation evolves, additional guidance will be provided.

Refer to EHS for exceptions and/or contact your Facilities Superintendent if you have specific questions about your building.

The Office of Facilities in coordination with Yale Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) has reviewed building systems, cleaning protocols, and other related parameters in all buildings at all campus locations. The Office of Facilities and EHS websites contain detailed information on what modifications have been made to building systems (like supply air and filtration), occupancy recommendations, cleaning and disinfecting periodicity, and other important improvements that meet the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as well as guidance and policies issued and developed by the University.

The Office of Facilities website provides details on the necessary measures required to reactivate University facilities for safe occupancy. This includes information and documents for Facilities staff, the University community, and outside contractors and vendors. The website also includes contact information for your building Facilities Superintendent and EHS Safety Advisor, who can also provide assistance.

Normal occupancy and use of elevators began on August 1, 2021. Onsite signage was provided noting any exceptions.

Please refer to the Events & Gatherings section on the University’s COVID-19 Information page for the latest guidance.

Yes, please visit the Office of Facilities website and submit your question(s).

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The Yale Public Health Committee approved new levels of cleaning and disinfecting on April 26, 2021. Cleaning will be completed in your building on a regular basis. Visit the Office of Facilities website for details on cleaning levels of service for different types of spaces. The new levels and service are in response to the latest CDC guidance stating that the risk of COVID transmission through surface contact is very low, and that disinfecting is generally not required. However, users can disinfect equipment and workspaces before and after use, as desired.

Procurement of disinfecting wipes for departmental spaces, offices, labs, and shared workspaces and equipment is the responsibility of each department. Facilities Services will continue to provide disinfecting wipes in classrooms, public conference rooms, and shared residential bathrooms. Please contact your Facilities Superintendent if you have questions about the levels of service.

The extent, duration, and action plan to restore occupancy will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in coordination with EHS. Please contact your Facilities Superintendent for details on the coordinated response.

Visit the Office of Facilities website for details on cleaning levels of service for different types of spaces. Building occupants can disinfect equipment and workspaces before and after use, as desired.

Procurement of disinfecting wipes for departmental spaces, offices, labs, and shared workspaces and equipment is the responsibility of each department. Facilities Services will continue to provide disinfecting wipes in classrooms, public conference rooms, and shared residential bathrooms. Please contact your Facilities Superintendent if you have questions about the levels of service.

The Yale Public Health Committee approved new levels of cleaning and disinfecting on April 26, 2021. Cleaning will be completed in your building on a regular basis. Visit the Office of Facilities website for details on cleaning levels of service for different types of spaces. The new levels and service are in response to the latest CDC guidance stating that the risk of COVID transmission through surface contact is very low, and that disinfecting is generally not required. However, users can disinfect equipment and workspaces before and after use, as desired.

Procurement of disinfecting wipes for departmental spaces, offices, labs, and shared workspaces and equipment is the responsibility of each department. Facilities staff will continue to provide disinfecting wipes in classrooms, public conference rooms, and shared residential bathrooms. Please contact your Facilities Superintendent if you have questions about the levels of service.

Continue to wash your hands. Facilities Services will refill dispensers in building common areas on a regular basis. Your department is responsible for refilling dispensers within your department receptions, conference rooms, break rooms, kitchenettes, and other noncommon areas.

Building Infrastructure, Air Filtration, and Ventilation

Yes, operable windows should be opened whenever a space is occupied while maintaining comfortable indoor conditions. The use of windows is a highly effective way to improve ventilation within a space and is specifically recommended by the CDC and ASHRAE.

If windows are open, please close them when you leave for the day. If you are working in a laboratory or a space with special environmental conditions, windows should remain closed to avoid impact on space pressurization and other conditions.

Please contact your Facilities Superintendent. Facilities will evaluate your windows and make the necessary repairs or recommend other strategies for your area if the windows cannot be made to function.

Spaces that have either no windows, or windows that are not designed to be opened and closed, are provided mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation systems use fans to bring fresh outdoor air into a building, through a process that filters, conditions, and delivers it to occupied interior spaces.

All mechanical ventilation systems have been reviewed for modifications consistent with CDC and ASHRAE recommendations. These modifications include upgraded filtration to clean air, extended run times of systems that deliver outdoor fresh air continuously before and after room occupancy, and increases to the percentages of outdoor air in total supply to serve interior spaces.

Restrictions that have been in place (one person per 150 sf) for naturally ventilated spaces have been lifted. Exceptions may be necessary for certain spaces and will be identified on the EHS website. Onsite signage will be provided if occupancy restrictions are in place.

All fire and stairwell doors along egress route shall remain closed or appropriately latched—do not prop them open. Laboratory doors also shall remain closed to maintain air pressurization. Conference room, private office doors, and bathroom doors (if sightlines into spaces are acceptable) may be propped open.

Purge buttons are installed in some laboratories to be used in an emergency such as a chemical spill. Purge modes increase air flow, speed, and turbulence. Purge buttons should not be used in any other manner.

There are various heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and applications utilized within the many University buildings. As you occupy your space it may not be readily apparent that changes have been made. However, please be aware that different teams within the Office of Facilities, including operations, services, and engineering have performed a detailed review of HVAC systems serving all buildings at all University locations.

As a result, modifications have been made that are consistent with CDC and ASHRAE recommendations. These modifications include such items as: upgraded filtration, extended run times of air systems, and modifications to air delivery systems to allow high levels of outdoor air supply to serve spaces. In addition, local air filtration systems have been deployed in different areas around the University based upon occupancy and use.

All research laboratories use 100% outdoor air with high air change rates that respond to lab processes and equipment. These systems are designed for safety in order to move air effectively away from people and out of indoor spaces. Laboratory air systems should not be modified.

These types of buildings often have smaller localized systems to maintain environmental conditions and, in many cases, rely on operable windows for ventilation. If your space has operable windows, please use them when you occupy your area.

Some of these locations may also have air filtering ventilation units (AFVUs) deployed that provide for outdoor air and increased filtration levels. If you see one of these units, please do not turn it off. Additionally, local air purifiers may be provided in smaller special use space types and other areas that have limited ventilation.

Onsite signage will be provided for any areas that should not be occupied. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your Facilities Superintendent.

In areas that are served by centralized HVAC systems providing filtered air and mechanical ventilation, local air filtration devices are not required or recommended to supplement these existing systems currently in place.

In areas that are special use or limited in ventilation capability and are generally less than 500 sf, EHS may require the use of a local air filtration device. In this case, purchase, installation, and maintenance of the device will be provided by the University. All other air purification and filtration devices would be the responsibility of individual departments and users.

As part of the reopening protocol, domestic water systems have been flushed and visually inspected. If you have any concern about the color, quality, or taste of your water contact the Facilities Customer Service Center at 203-432-6888.

Properties that are managed by third-party service providers other than the University are following the same guidelines and approaches as reviewed within these FAQs and documented on the Office of Facilities and EHS websites.

Similar actions have been performed to building HVAC systems and cleaning protocols initiated to University-managed buildings that meet CDC and ASHRAE standards.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to the Facilities Customer Service Center at 203-432-6888 or Tenant Services for leased properties.