COVID-19 Updates and Guidance > Guidance > Health & Safety Practices > Public Health Measures
From the start of the pandemic, DePaul has based our actions on guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes significant investments the university made to improve air quality and to promote the use of face masks and hand sanitizer.
While some aspects will evolve along with public health guidance, the following public health measures are currently in place at DePaul.
Updated Jan. 12, 2022
All air handlers capable of accommodating MERV-13 filters have been upgraded in DePaul buildings on both the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses.
Additionally, the percentage of outside air drawn into buildings has been increased, and the start and stop times for all building fans has been extended to ensure that any particles not trapped in filter media are diluted with fresh air to the extent possible.
Any classroom or office areas in older buildings at the Lincoln Park Campus (portions of O’Connell Hall, Steans Center, select Racine Avenue offices) that do not have forced-air HVAC systems have been supplied with standalone HEPA air purification machines. Instructions for proper use of the machines have been posted above each machine.
To proactively address the fact that groups of people will be congregating in the dining halls, and temporarily removing their masks while consuming food and beverages, the following measures have been implemented:
Office and cubicle cleaning are on the same weekly schedule, and to the same specifications, that was in place prior to the pandemic. Additionally, Facility Operations no longer requires (or accepts) e-mail requests for office or cubicle cleaning.
Those wishing to clean or disinfect their working surfaces more frequently are encouraged to do so. Departments may order disinfecting wipes from Staples or Amazon. For everyone’s safety, please do not order or use any bleach-based cleaning products.
Common area cleaning has reverted to pre-pandemic levels. Common touch points such as elevator buttons and door handles are disinfected on a nightly basis in compliance with CDC guidelines.
Classrooms and laboratory spaces are cleaned nightly as they were pre-pandemic.
Sanitizer stands in computer labs will continue to be stocked with paper towels to enable users to disinfect peripheral devices prior to use.
Departmental meeting rooms and other special use spaces are cleaned on the same weekly schedule, and to the same specifications, that was in place prior to the pandemic. In Student Center-controlled event spaces, the Student Center staff will also clean and disinfect surfaces in meeting rooms between events.
Facility Operations has procedures, equipment and necessary supplies readily available to disinfect spaces when a confirmed COVID-19 case scenario is reported.
Facility Operations restored all classroom and common area furniture that its personnel moved as part of social distancing back to its pre-pandemic state.
All common area furniture moved by individual departments or areas, within their respective suites, will remain as it is. Each area will decide when and how best to reset these items.
Outdoor tables and seating at the Lincoln Park Campus were reinstalled to their pre-pandemic locations.
The 700+ hand sanitizer stands that were deployed at the onset of the pandemic remain in place and will be stocked with sanitizer through at least the end of winter quarter. As the CDC is no longer specifying disinfection of common high-touch areas multiple times per day, Facility Operations no longer stocks paper towels in the sanitizer stands, with the exception that paper towels will continue to be provided in computer labs to facilitate disinfection of peripheral devices.
Hand sanitizer gels are now readily available for sale and departments may procure individual-sized bottles through Staples or Amazon for placement on employee desks.
Because hand sanitizer is readily available, Facility Operations will not take requests for placement of additional hand sanitizer stands on campus.
As was the case throughout the pandemic, disposable masks will remain available at all building lobbies at the Loop Campus and in select locations throughout the Lincoln Park Campus.
Facility Operations will restore all water fountains during December so all water fountains are available for use at the start of winter quarter.
Restrooms are spot cleaned and stocked throughout the day, as needed, and to pre-pandemic standards.
All restrooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during regular nighttime cleaning service.
The residence halls will also be cleaned according to pre-pandemic schedules with all common areas being cleaned daily. Students living on campus are being encouraged to bring disinfectant wipes with them so they may clean common surfaces before and after use (i.e., common area kitchens, shared suite bathrooms, floor lounges, laundry machines, etc.).
Chartwells will have an employee at both the Loop and Lincoln Park Campuses solely designated to disinfect tables in the dining areas between users.
There are no COVID-related capacity limits in elevator cabs as this time.
All DePaul elevators have been equipped with UVC technology to disinfect the air entering the elevator cabs.
Most academic buildings have open stairwells available for those who prefer not to use an elevator to reach their destination. The southeast stairwell of the DePaul Center will remain open for general circulation to all DePaul floors, with the exception of the 10th floor library, for security reasons.
New signage, reflecting the latest guidance on mask wearing, has been placed in high-traffic areas. Signage will be updated throughout the academic year as circumstances merit.
Signs pertaining to proper handwashing are posted near restroom and break room sinks.
Plexiglass shields were installed in all areas originally designated by area VP/Deans. They will remain in place indefinitely, unless removal is requested.
Work orders may be placed to remove unwanted shields from departmental desks. Requests will be fulfilled by Facility Operations as time permits. Note: as each installation was custom-made, and given the lack of storage space, removed shields will be discarded.
Facility Operations will not custom make shields for additional desks or areas at this time. Ready-made products are widely available online and may be ordered to fill a specific departmental need.
The applicability of the following recommendations varies depending on if (and how frequently) office kitchen appliances were utilized during the COVID-19 closure period. Any equipment not utilized for at least several weeks should be thoroughly flushed prior to resumption of normal use. Facility Operations has prepared these recommendations as a courtesy; it does not service or repair kitchen appliances.
Kitchen sinks: Run both the hot and cold water taps for at least three minutes each to flush out the lines and to circulate water through any small point-of-use hot water heaters that might be servicing the sink.
Dishwashers: Run at least one cycle, using the proper soap, and without any dishes in the machine to both clean the machine internally and to remove any stagnant water that might be in the supply line and in the drainage system.
All refrigerators: Unused refrigerators were cleaned out and unplugged during the initial campus closure period. They will remain unplugged until departments resume normal occupancy of their spaces. Refrigerators should be plugged in by departmental staff and allowed up to twenty-four hours to reach the proper temperature prior to use for food storage.
Refrigerators with ice/water functions: Dispense several large cups of water through the old filter to remove any sediment in the water line. Then replace the water filter in the refrigerator (if applicable) and continue to flush the water line as per the instructions that came with the replacement water filter. Finally, make and discard at least two batches of ice.
Coffee machines plumbed with a water line: Place a service call with the company supplying the machine. Have the coffee service technician properly flush the machine’s internal reservoir and change any filters, which may be in-line with the water supply.
Standalone coffee machines: Any coffee machine with an internal water reservoir should be cleaned and flushed as per the instructions provided in the owner’s manual. Instructions for cleaning Keurig machines, in particular, are also available online.
Bottle-less water coolers plumbed with a water line: Place a service call with the company supplying the machine. Have the service technician properly flush the machine’s internal reservoir and change any filters, which may be in-line with the water supply.
Bottle-type water coolers: Flush out and discard all water in the current water bottle, install a new water bottle, and then draw several additional cups of water to fully flush the inside of the machine with new water. If water bottles were stored for a prolonged period near a window, the ultraviolet light could impact the water quality and it is recommended to request replacement bottles from the water supply vendor.
University vehicles that were not used during the pandemic will require professional servicing. Facility Operations will not jump-start or otherwise repair any such vehicles. Responsible departments are required to have any such vehicles towed to a qualified automotive repair shop for servicing and a safety inspection prior to returning them to the road.
Responsible departments are also to ensure that license plate stickers, emissions testing, City of Chicago vehicle stickers, and insurance cards are updated as needed prior to use.