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Guidelines and Procedures

  • Wear disposable vinyl gloves while using disinfectants; all of our available disinfectants are EPA-registered.
  • For electronics, consider using alcohol-based wipes containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • High traffic areas and frequently touched objects such as lobbies, elevators, door handles and handrails will be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Faculty, staff and students are prohibited from bringing their own disinfection and cleaning products to campus as these may present additional safety concerns.
  • See below for detailed information on Northwestern’s disinfecting measures.

Disinfection Measures and Frequencies 

Protocols for cleaning various types of spaces, objects and transportation.
Type of Space, Transportation or Object Scope Who's Responsible Frequency
Bathrooms All objects and surfaces Custodial staff Frequently throughout the day
Break rooms All dining surfaces (i.e. table, chairs and all other frequently touched objects), vending machines, dispensers, etc. Custodial staff At the end of each day
Classrooms Desk and chair surfaces, white board markers
For additional information, please reference guidelines for instructional spaces.
Staff Throughout the day
Dining and cafeterias All dining surfaces (i.e. tables, chairs and all other frequently touched objects), vending machines, dispensers, etc. Dining staff, custodial staff At the end of each day
Material handling equipment (e.g., forklifts, pallet jacks) Seats, steering wheels, levers Each user After each use
Office Telephones, keyboards, desks and other frequently touched objects Staff At the end of each day
Public spaces (e.g., lobbies, elevators, bathrooms) Door handles, buttons, faucets, toilets Custodial staff Throughout the day
Public transportation Seat surfaces, rails, belts, door and window handles Drivers Throughout the day
Tools All surfaces typically handled Each user After each use

According to the CDC, coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Northwestern will follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Departments/units must coordinate with Risk Management or Research Safety to identify the affected area(s) and discuss the following disinfection steps below:

  • Identifying and closing close off area(s) used by the person who is sick. Departments/ units do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards and remote controls.
  • Use a vacuum equipped with high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
  • Once area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use. Faculty, staff, and students without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routing cleaning and disinfection. This includes everyday practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment.