Cleaning in Covid-19 Environment

NUI Galway Campus Cleaning in the Covid-19 Reopening Period

In line with public health recommendations, the University has undertaken measures to prevent community spread of COVID-19, which include enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures developed by Buildings & Estates.  The procedures were developed in light of the guidance issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in relation to cleaning Disinfection of environments in healthcare and non-healthcare settings potentially contaminated with SARS-CoV-2

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols and Good Personal Hygiene

1. Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important aspect of reopening our campus. It is important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

Cleaning removes germs and dust by using detergents or soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals, and also lowers the risk of spreading infection.

2. Good Personal Hygiene

Across the University, staff, students, visitors and contractors are expected to maintain responsible personal hygiene. Hands should be washed frequently, faces should be covered when sneezing or coughing, and individuals should not come to campus if they are sick. Limiting the touching of shared surfaces reduces the spread of the virus. To encourage good personal hygiene, units should post signage related to good personal hygiene. Signs encouraging good personal hygiene can be ordered via Buildings & Estates.

Toilet facilities and kitchen areas are equipped with hand soap. Hand sanitizer stations are also available in areas with heavy traffic (i.e., lobbies/atriums and at the major circulations points on each floor).

Wash your hands when entering and leaving NUI Galway campus buildings. Remember hand gels with at least 60% alcohol content are available to be used in the major circulation spaces in each building.

Washing Your Hands

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • When sneezing, sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue away, and then wash your hands; if you don’t have a tissue available, sneeze into the inside of your elbow
  • To properly wash your hands, follow these 5 steps:
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
  5. Dry your hands using the hand dryers or air-dry them


Sanitzing Your Hands

  • Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • To properly use hand sanitizer, follow these 3 steps:
  1. Apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand
  2. Rub your hands together
  3. Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry, which should take about 20 seconds

Using Gloves

As the COVID-19 virus cannot enter your body through your skin, gloves provide no additional protection. Additionally, gloves often create a false sense of security, people are more likely to touch contaminated surfaces while wearing them, people are less inclined to wash hands frequently while wearing gloves, and gloves must be properly removed to prevent exposure to any bacteria or viruses on the gloves.  If you choose to wear gloves please ensure that you clearly understand and follow safe glove etiquette. 

3. Public areas and Circulation Spaces - Touchpoint Protocol

Touchpoints such as door handles, door push, handrails, buttons etc. are the main risk, as numerous individuals come into contact with them on a daily basis. A touchpoint protocol has been developed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 through contact with surfaces whether physical or transmitted onto the surface through the air by coughing or sneezing. A new sanitisation cleaning service has commenced to ensure all of these surfaces are cleaned at least twice per day. Cleaning chemicals with an EN14476 rating will be used on these surfaces to ensure any traces of Covid-19 are removed.

Touchpoint Examples:


4. Teaching Venues (Theatres, Classrooms, PC Suites etc.)

Large buckets of sanitising wipes suitable for use on hands and surfaces will be provided in all teaching venues. All staff and students must take two wipes when entering the venue.

First, use one wipe to clean down the surface of your workstation/desk/keyboard/Mouse etc. and then use the second wipe to sanitise your hands. Finally, place the two wipes into the bins provided in the venue. It is extremely important to appropriately dispose of the wipes you have used so the teaching venues do not become littered with wipes.

5. Office Cleaning

All employees should keep a clear desk to enable thorough cleaning of work surfaces. Employees should regularly wipe down their personal work areas and frequently touched objects with sanitising wipes (i.e., workstations/desks, keyboards and telephones). If your desk is not clear, the cleaners will not attempt to clean it.

Where a case of Covid-19 is confirmed in an office, a deep clean will be required and all items on the desk will be exposed to chemicals used to clean and fumigate the office. Buildings & Estates will not take any responsibility for any damage to items as a result of people not maintaining a clear desk.

Shared Printers/ Photocopiers are a risk in an office setting, as numerous individuals come into contact with them on a daily basis. Each unit should decide the most appropriate way to reduce such risks from undertaking your own touchpoint sanitisation practices to reducing the number of staff who have contact with this type of equipment.

6. Deep Cleaning after suspected Case of Covid-19

Should a Staff/Student/Visitor test positive for Covid-19 Buildings & Estates will arrange the decontamination of spaces the individual occupied on campus using ionised hydrogen peroxide (iHP) and pre-qualified mobile bio-decontamination equipment which is set up on a temporary basis to undertake a high level disinfection anti-microbial gassing process. Hydrogen Peroxide (“H2O2”) 10% w/w disinfection solution is aerosolised, ionised and distributed within the room(s) to be bio-decontaminated by an ultrasonic nozzle and/or oscillating stirring fans. Following a set gas injection cycle, the H2O2 is left for a 1-hour contact time after which any residual H2O2 is removed from the room, to below the Work Exposure Limit (WEL) by purging H202 vapour from the enclosure utilising the room’s ventilation system, or by creating a natural draft.

7. Toilet Cleaning

Toilets are areas where people will come into close contact with others at sinks and hand driers etc. For this reason the number of people permitted to enter the toilets will vary from facility to facility depending on the size. The number of people permitted into a toilet facility will be limited to either 1 or 2 people, this number will be displayed on the door to the toilet facilities, please ensure you take note of this number before entering the toilet and exit again immediately to queue outside if the maximum number of people are already present.

Cleaning operatives will sanitise the toilets on an increased schedule. When cleaning is in progress, it MUST be understood the toilets are closed for use. Please respect this and do not enter the toilets while the cleaners are present, if people do not abide by this condition they will be reported to their local C-19 Coordinator for further action.

8. Kitchens/Kitchenette Cleaning

All kitchens and kitchenettes on campus are the responsibility of each unit and may be used provided appropriate cleaning and disinfectant measures are in put in place and monitored.

Note: Buildings & Estates do not arrange cleaning for these facilities as they are managed directly by each unit.

9. Cleaning and Disinfection Measures and Frequencies

Cleaning and Disinfection Measures and Frequencies