The energy of ultraviolet light (UV-C) filtration is currently used in some air handlers on campus, as it is effective in disrupting the reproductive DNA and RNA of infectious pathogens and helps maintain a clean and sterile environment inside the air handlers. UV-C technology is currently being installed in select high-density instructional, administrative offices and operational support buildings. Buildings that are already 100% outside air, single pass airstream by design are not currently slated for UV-C lighting rollouts as none of those air systems have any return air from the occupied spaces. AHU systems in research buildings that do utilize mixed return and outside air (offices, classrooms) are slated for UV-C lighting.
Have there been positive cases of COVID-19 at UCF?
UCF has already seen some employees and students test positive for COVID-19. The vast majority of UCF’s cases have involved students who are either asymptomatic or experienced only minor symptoms.
Most of the recent cases involve students who said they have not been on campus during the time they could have impacted others. Many are the result of our contact tracing efforts – reaching out to others who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive and testing them. We hope these efforts will help to reduce the spread as more members of the UCF community become aware they have tested positive.
We encourage anyone who finds themselves experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested at one of the UCF testing sites or at a location near them. Testing is important for tracking the virus and tracing to prevent further community spread, and we are already seeing that this process is effective.
The Department of Health is notifying UCF of all known or suspected cases at UCF, and confirmed cases will be shared via a forthcoming dashboard feature on the COVID-19 website that will list confirmed cases of COVID-19 that involve a student or faculty or staff member. The dashboard will be generic in nature, in accordance with medical and student privacy laws and public health best practices. We will update you when the dashboard is published.
How will UCF trace and track cases of COVID-19?
Robust tracing of COVID-19 cases at UCF will help the university identify and contain potentially impacted populations. UCF will continue to partner with state and local health officials to regularly monitor rates of new cases. Student volunteers will partner with the Florida Department of Health as contact tracers beginning this summer and will work with faculty from the College of Medicine and College of Nursing.
What do I do if I exhibit symptoms of COVID-19?
If you become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and contact your primary care physician, who will determine whether testing or treatment is needed. Avoid contact with other people and social gatherings to keep from spreading your illness to others. Employees should also notify their supervisor that they are ill and not able to return to work and follow the instructions of their healthcare provider.
Testing can be obtained at one of the two COVID-19 testing sites at UCF in partnership with Aventus Biolabs or at a location near you. To obtain a test at one of the UCF sites:
- UCF students: Reach out to Student Health Services to obtain an ordered test by calling 407-823-2509
- UCF faculty and staff: Contact UCF Health, which will provide a telehealth appointment or help obtain an ordered test from your primary care provider by calling 407-266-3627
Also follow these best practices while awaiting test results and if you test positive for COVID-19:
- Do not leave your home, except to get medical care, until cleared by your healthcare provider.
- Do not share household items.
- Wear a mask around others if contact is necessary.
How will I be informed of possible COVID-19 exposure at UCF?
If there is the possibility that you have been exposed to COVID-19 because a colleague has tested positive, you will be notified directly. Through contact tracing, the Department of Health will assess and inform all persons who may be at risk and require quarantine and/or testing. In line with public health practices and medical and student privacy laws, only those who would need to know about confirmed COVID-19 cases for personal health and safety reasons will be informed.
The Department of Health will notify UCF of all known or suspected cases at UCF, and confirmed cases will be shared with the public via a forthcoming dashboard feature on the COVID-19 website that lists confirmed cases of COVID-19 that involve a student or faculty or staff member. The dashboard will be generic in nature, in accordance with medical and student privacy laws and public health best practices.
Campus housing, Environmental Health and Safety or other areas will be apprised of known or suspected cases and the need for isolation, quarantine and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures.
What do I do if I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19?
If you know that you have had close contact with a co-worker, visitor, family member or other individual who has confirmed COVID-19 you should stay home and contact your primary care physician, who will determine whether testing or treatment is needed. Avoid contact with other people and social gatherings to keep from spreading your illness to others. Employees should also notify their supervisor that they are ill and not able to return to work and follow the instructions of their healthcare provider.
A high-risk exposure generally involves exposure of eyes, nose or mouth, particularly if the individual was in contact of less than 6 feet for a period more than 15 minutes with a person infected with COVID-19.
Will hand sanitizer be available?
Yes. Frequently washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs and viruses and protect yourself from COVID-19, but if that is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol will work.
UCF has ordered an additional 1,200 hand sanitizing stations and 2,000 cases of refills. The stations will be strategically placed around campus in high-traffic areas and near commonly touched surfaces, such as near the doors at building entry points.
Will there be additional attention paid to cleaning?
Yes, additional and enhanced cleaning will take place in common spaces and areas where there are frequently touched surfaces, including hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators.
Employees will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining their individual workspaces, including desks, chairs and computer equipment.
Is UCF making other safety enhancements?
Yes, additional signage and touch-free hand-sanitizing stations will be placed across campus.
Upgrades also are being made to UCF buildings to reduce the number of shared touchpoints in common spaces by the time the fall semester begins. These include more foot-operated door openers and touchless restroom features and elevators.
What measures will be taken to clean classrooms?
Classrooms will be cleaned daily. Additional and enhanced cleaning will take place in common spaces and areas where there are frequently touched surfaces, and disinfecting wipes will be available so that students can clean individual work spaces.
In addition, UCF has ordered an additional 1,200 hand sanitizing stations and 2,000 cases of refills. The stations will be strategically placed around campus in high-traffic areas and near commonly touched surfaces, such as near the doors at building entry points.
What if I have concerns about disregard of safety precautions?
Immediate concerns should be brought to your supervisor’s attention. If it is not possible to elevate concerns at the department level, the IntegrityLine is a secure system to report suspected misconduct.
You can reach the IntegrityLine 24/7 at compliance.ucf.edu or 1-855-877-6049. All reports are reviewed by the University Compliance, Ethics and Risk Office, and investigated as discreetly and promptly as possible.
What steps is the university taking to stay informed on best practices and guidance on operating campus HVAC systems?
Facility and Safety staff actively participate in the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force that develops global recommendations and guidance for industrial and commercial facilities. UCF will continue to monitor and implement OSHA, CDC and other industry-related guidelines and best practices — adapting our administrative and engineering controls accordingly.
What measures are being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission through the university’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) systems?
Measures being taken address ventilation, filtration, administrative controls and sterilization technology. Ventilation and filtration provided by HVAC systems can reduce the airborne concentrates of SARS-CoV-2 and, thus, reduce the risk of transmission through the air.
Filtration: UCF’s research facilities utilize MERV 9 pre-filters and MERV 14 final filters. UCF will continue to adhere to the maintenance schedules for quarterly, semi-annual and annual filter changes for all HVAC systems on campus.
Ventilation: UCF will continue to maintain design ventilation rates that are determined by ASHRAE standards for air change rates based on each building’s application.
Administrative controls: UCF is working with the Registrar’s Office on class start times and cleaning schedules, and will provide further updates when the Fall Classroom Seating Task Force further refines the model for opening in fall semester. This will result in an increase in overall ventilation effectiveness per occupant, as the design ACH rates will remain in place or increase where possible, while the population in each building is anticipated to decrease.
Sterilization technology: The university is installing additional ultraviolet-bandwidth energy (UV-C) lighting in air handler units serving instructional and administrative offices. While UV-C will not mitigate transmission risk of SARS and COVID-19 within campus buildings’ HVAC air streams, the ultraviolet energy will help inactivate the DNA and RNA of most viral, bacterial, and fungal organisms so that they are unable to replicate. The kill rate for UV-C is based on a factor of time and exposure to the light. Note that even with high-intensity UV-C irradiation, the deactivation rate will not be 100% for all biological particles.
How are the HVAC systems cleaned and disinfected?
The HVAC systems are cleaned and disinfected on a quarterly basis, as part of their normal preventive maintenance. This is done through a combination of antimicrobial fogging, UV-C disinfection, bi-polar ionization, electromagnetic filtration, and physical cleaning of the systems. All systems will receive their quarterly preventative maintenance and cleaning service prior to the start of Fall semester.