Facilities Management (FM) Safe Campus Support

The following outlines FM’s services provided and guidance in support of the University of Minnesota Safe Campus Plan

Building Signage

FM is responsible for posting COVID-19 messaging in public areas of buildings including exterior doors, entrances, lobbies, restrooms, entrances, and lobbies. The following messaging has been posted:

Further directional/restrictive signage is allowed within college/departmental specific spaces (offices, kitchens, labs) that are the non-public areas listed above.

Hand Sanitizers

Each building entry lobby area will have a wall mount or free standing hand sanitizer dispenser installed and refilled regularly. Requests for supplemental dispensers in other public spaces go through the FM Call Center [email protected] / (612) 624-2900. FM is supplying scheduled general purpose and departmental classrooms and study spaces with disinfectant pop-up wipes. 

Building Traffic Guidelines

Stay to the right in public traffic areas including building entrances, hallways, corridors, stairwells, lobbies and tunnels. Hallways and stairwells may not be restricted to one-way traffic due to building egress requirements.

  • Restrooms: observe physical distancing particularly at restroom entrances and at close quarters
    • Do not post individual/departmental signs restricting usage for public restrooms as single occupancy (this does not apply to departmental restrooms)
    • Receptacles will be placed closer to restroom entrances wherever possible
  • Elevators and Escalators: Do not post individual/departmental signs restricting usage

For units who wish to keep further COVID-19 restrictions in place, refer to and follow this process: COVID-19 Restriction Exception process.


Regular housekeeping practices are being enhanced by FM, including routine cleaning and sanitizing of work surfaces, equipment, tools, and machinery, and areas in the work environment, including restrooms, break rooms, lunchrooms, and meeting rooms. Frequent cleaning and sanitizing is being conducted in high-touch areas, such as controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, etc. See FM Maroon Standards.

  • All custodial staff and their supervisors have been provided refresher training on proper cleaning techniques, as well as background information on COVID-19. Click here to review the custodial training guidance and product use document.
  • All cleaning products meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.
  • FM teams clean spaces such as building lobbies, restrooms, drinking fountains, door push bars, door handles, handrails, stair railings and elevator buttons at least once daily, and more frequently if deemed necessary.
  • For shared departmental equipment, such as phones, keyboards, and copiers, individual users will be responsible to clean these surfaces prior to individual use. Units can order the necessary cleaning supplies from U Market.
  • Departmentally owned spaces such as labs will continue to be primarily serviced by the lab occupants, as they had been doing prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • FM Maroon Standards continue for cleaning: clinics daily, research labs 3x/week, offices monthly.
  • FM is supplying scheduled general purpose and departmental classrooms and study spaces with disinfectant pop-up wipes. In partnership with other University departments, FM continues planning for the resumption of operations including classrooms, study areas, and teaching and computer labs.

For areas with confirmed or reported COVID-19 cases, see University Health & Safety - Cleaning Work Areas Occupied by a COVID-19 Case.

Please visit U Market to order available PPE and supplies for departmental use.

Workspace Modifications

Office Environments - CPM Guidelines - Physical Distancing Office Environments are available to help plan for office environments around campus. Requests for modifications may be placed through the FM Call Center [email protected]/ (612) 624-2900. Departments are responsible for the cost.

Partitions - Visit UHS Partition Guidance to learn about using partitions and barriers in University spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19. There are various options customizable to meet a variety of spaces and needs. Use the Partition Decision Checklist to determine if a partition is the best solution. Partitions may be ordered through the FM Call Center [email protected] / (612) 624-2900. Departments are responsible for the cost.

HVAC System Analysis and Modifications

Shortly after the start of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued guidance for operating Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems with "epidemic conditions in place." This guidance has been updated frequently as more was learned about the spread of COVID-19.

Key measures include ensuring HVAC systems are operating in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and meet code standards, conducting all regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance procedures, maximizing the amount of outside air supplied, installing more efficient air filters (MERV 13 or higher) where feasible, maximizing natural ventilation in buildings without HVAC systems by opening windows or doors, when conditions allow, and considering the use of portable air cleaners with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in spaces with high occupancy or limited ventilation.

The Campus Sunrise HVAC Workgroup has incorporated all CDC and ASHRAE guidance and recognizes that ventilation is a key engineering control that can be used as part of a layered strategy to reduce the concentration of viral particles in indoor air. For now, based on these recommendations, FM plans to maintain a variety of mitigation strategies for HVAC systems. The strategies are outlined below followed by notes related to specific space types.

General HVAC Mitigation Strategies

Extended building operations

  • Most building ventilation systems are again operating with their pre-pandemic time of day schedules with the addition of a 2-hour pre- or post-occupancy purge period. The purge cycle is intended to flush the space after occupants leave for the day and before occupants arrive the following day. This gives the HVAC system additional time to reduce the concentration of potentially infectious particles from the room. 
  • Demand control ventilation systems which provide outside air according to space CO2 levels and occupancy sensors have been bypassed. The systems operate only based on the time of day schedule and at the design ventilation rate.
  • Cleaning schedules for instructional and study spaces have been enhanced.

Increased outdoor air and enhanced filtration

  • FM engineering teams have evaluated HVAC systems to validate they are functioning according to current ventilation standards.
  • The amount of outdoor air provided by HVAC systems has been increased as much as practical given the capacity limits of each system. Increasing the outdoor air percentage limits use of recirculated air as much as possible.
  • Reducing recirculated air is the primary mitigation strategy, but in some cases, filters were upgraded based on a combination of factors including; the application, system capability, and availability of filter media.
  • Windows in naturally ventilated classrooms will be opened between classes as appropriate for the weather conditions.
  • Portable filtration units that recirculate space air through HEPA filters and return it to the space have been installed in select rooms. Filtration units are typically used in spaces that cannot meet the desired baseline ventilation rates or spaces that are considered at high risk for virus transmission (e.g. healthcare applications).

Notes for Specific Space Types

Classrooms and Libraries

A detailed analysis of large group settings, such as classrooms and library spaces, is complete. The general mitigation strategies have been applied to systems serving these large group classroom and library areas. The majority of classrooms met the required guidance. The remaining classrooms will meet this guidance with the addition of FM-purchased and installed portable air filtration units. FM is responsible for changing filters and maintaining units that serve classroom spaces.

Review the related message from Executive VP and Provost Croson and VP Berthelsen regarding classroom ventilation.

UMN Building Classroom Portable Air Filtration Unit Locations

Other building spaces such as conference rooms, corridors, and toilet spaces are not considered large groups settings, and the HVAC systems serving these space types will continue to operate normally in accordance with CDC and ASHRAE guidance.

Office Space Overview

An analysis of large open office space is complete. The general mitigation strategies have been applied to systems serving these open office areas. The exceptions are that open office spaces are rarely naturally ventilated (i.e. operable windows) so that part of the general strategy list does not apply. Open office areas are typically served by HVAC systems that can provide the required ventilation air so local room filtration units are rarely applied in those applications.

Additional space types including private offices, office suites, conference rooms, corridors, and toilet spaces are not considered large group settings. HVAC systems serving these space types will continue to operate normally in accordance with CDC and ASHRAE guidance.

Laboratories and Clinical Spaces Overview

Laboratory and clinical spaces were not a focus of the work group’s scope because the building code requirements for those spaces generally require HVAC system performance that exceeds the CDC and ASHRAE guidance related to COVID-19. Clinic spaces are governed by health care codes that directly address infectious disease and hazardous aerosol control. Clinic managers should follow current codes and best practices for airborne infectious disease management.

Residential Life Overview

An analysis of residential spaces is complete for spaces within residential facilities that are intended for large groups activities. The general mitigation strategies have been applied to systems serving these areas. The exceptions are that operable windows are not typically the primary means of ventilating these types of large group spaces so that part of the general strategy list does not apply. Also, local room filtration has not been applied to large group residential spaces on campus.

Additional space types including sleeping rooms, lounge spaces, conference rooms, corridors, and toilet spaces are not considered large group settings and ventilation systems serving these space types will continue to operate normally in accordance with CDC and ASHRAE guidance.

  • Click here to read the complete HVAC working group report.
  • Call (612) 624-2900 if building HVAC systems or installed temporary air filtration units are not functioning and FM will address the issue.
  • For other HVAC questions/concerns, contact UHS at 612-626-6002 or [email protected].

Potable Water

FM staff is flushing building water fixtures (sink faucets, showers, drinking fountains and bottle fillers) ensuring they are within published standards. Departments are recommended to flush ice and coffee makers to ensure a fresh water supply.

FM Staff Behavior and Everyone’s Personal Responsibility

FM staff practices and follows recommended behavioral guidelines. We all play a part in keeping each other safe. For more general Information on how to protect yourself, others, our University environment, and all other environments, visit the following:

University Health & Safety - COVID-19 Workplace Safety Training and Resources
CDC - How to Protect Yourself & Others
MDH - Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19


Submit questions, comments, feedback related to FM services and guidance provided on this webpage.