WCSU is open. Learn more here.

Reopening WCSU

Health & Safety Guidelines

We have developed guidelines to help us all protect each other. You will see reminders on posters throughout the campuses with notes about safe practices, including maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and wearing a face covering inside and outside of buildings. Please also practice the following:

  • Masks are required for everyone on campus. For those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing masks, we will do our best to create a course or work schedule that can continue remotely.
  • Handwashing and face coverings are the most effective deterrent to the spread of COVID-19.  We encourage everyone to wash your hands frequently, and try to remember not to touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth. If you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout both campuses.
  • Classrooms are being equipped with surface disinfectant and paper towels so that students and faculty can wipe down surfaces as they enter and/or leave the room.
  • Even when wearing a mask, you should cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow.
  • For classes that will occur on campus, room capacity is determined with physical distancing standards in place.
  • You will also see instructions about the flow of traffic in buildings (one way arrows, for example) to help everyone maintain six feet distances throughout the campuses.
  • Clear plastic barriers are being installed in places where there might be unscheduled interactions between people (registrar, cashier, reception desks, etc.).
  • Concerns have been raised about bathrooms and the ventilations system. Bathrooms will be cleaned regularly with EPA-registered disinfectants, and handwashing will mitigate any issues pertaining to high-touch areas. The ventilation systems are regularly maintained and have been operating normally even when campus offices and classrooms were closed, meaning no additional hazards like mold have taken hold in vents or ductwork. Guidelines provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers indicate that well-maintained heating and air conditioning systems reduces the airborne spread of the virus that causes Covid-19.

Daily Health Monitoring

All students, faculty, and staff are asked to monitor their health daily for symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and might include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you suspect that you might have COVID-19, you should stay home, isolate from others and contact your healthcare provider. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please inform us via the COVID-19 reporting link https://wcsu.edu/covid-report/.  You should continue to isolate at home until you are cleared by your healthcare provider, which is usually after 10 days, if your symptoms are improving.

When to seek emergency medical attention

Watch for these emergency warning signs for severe COVID-19:

  • Severe trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • bluish lips or face
  • New confusion

If you experience any of these signs, call 911 immediately!


Campus Air filtration Standards for Covid-19 response

The Facilities leadership teams at Western Connecticut State University and the other three CSU university campuses have agreed to the following minimum operating standards:

  1. All air system filters will be replaced at least quarterly;
  2. All air system filters will be upgraded to a minimum of MERV 13 rating;
  3. All restrooms fan exhaust rates will be increased to the system’s maximum operating limits;
  4. All fresh air intakes will be opened to their maximum operating limits during occupied times;
  5. Air system purge cycles will be scheduled overnight where systems have the capability.

WCSU Information:

All HVAC systems on campus are currently equipped with filters with a minimum of a MERV 8 rating, which removes particles down to 3 microns, the same as an average face mask but not as effective as an N95 mask. Some equipment is currently equipped with filters that have a MERV 11 rating, which removes particles down to 1 micron, comparable to surgical masks, slightly better than an average mask but not as effective as an N95 mask. All air handlers are being upgraded to MERV 13 minimum rating, which will capture particles down to 0.3 microns and, where possible, MERV 18 filters will be used.

The following two charts can help understand the ratings of disposable masks and filter performance ratings:

Surgical mask filtration standards

What does MERV or MERV rating mean?

A MERV Rating helps judge the effectiveness of the filter. MERV means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Engineers (ASHRAE). MERV values vary from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV value, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles. Another consideration is air flow through the HVAC system. Leaving a dirty air filter in place or using a filter that is too restrictive may result in low air flow and possibly cause the system to malfunction.

  • ASHRAE recommends MERV 6 or higher
  • US Department of Energy recommends MERV 13
  • LEED recommends MERV 8 at a minimum

See the chart below for filter MERV descriptions

 

MERV VALUE The filter will trap Average Particle Size Efficiency 0.3 – 1.0 Micron The filter will trap Average Particle Size Efficiency 1.0 – 3.0 Micron The filter will trap Average Particle Size Efficiency 3.0 – 10.0 Micron Types of things these filters will trap
MERV 1 Less than 20% Pollen, dust mites, standing dust, spray paintdust, carpet fibers
MERV 2 Less than 20%
MERV 3 Less than 20%
MERV 4 Less than 20%
MERV 5 20% – 34% Mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector, cement dust
MERV 6 35% – 49%
MERV 7 50% – 69%
MERV 8 70% – 85%
MERV 9 Less than 50% 85% or better Humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emissions, milled flour
MERV 10 50% – 64% 85% or better
MERV 11 65% – 79% 85% or better
MERV 12 80% – 89% 90% or better
MERV 13 Less than 75% 90% or better 90% or better Bacteria, most tobacco smoke, proplet Nuceli (sneeze)
MERV 14 75%-84% 90% or better 90% or better
MERV 15 85%-94% 90% or better 90% or better
MERV 16 95% or better 90% or better 90% or better

 

Fresh Air Supply by Building

The following is a summary of how much fresh air is being introduced when the HVAC systems are operating by building. Some buildings have the ability to throttle or modulate the amount of air changes as part of a schedule or based on occupancy. When HVAC equipment runs to maintain un-occupied temperature schedules, no outside air is being introduced. There is a delicate balance between bringing in more outdoor air and being able to supply conditioned or tempered air into these spaces as not all air handlers have the capacity to adequately heat or cool 100% outside air.

  • University Hall — A minimum of 15% fresh air is being brought in, with 15% being exhausted.
  • Old Main – Each zone has a 6-inch damper that opens to draw in outside air when calling for cooling. This is bringing in roughly 15% outside air per zone. Heating is baseboard steam. During heating seasons, fans bring in outside air on demand.
  • Fairfield Hall — Exhaust fans run 24/7 for the entire building, and an air handler brings in 100% outside air into the building for the lower level. Another air handler supplies 100% fresh air to common areas of the original portion of the building. The fan coil units located in the resident rooms do not bring in outside air and are only used to temper recirculating air. Fairfield annex resident rooms have no fresh air entering but do have operable windows.
  • White Hall – The newly renovated second and third floors have a minimum of 15% fresh air and 15% exhaust air. Ives Concert Hall has a manual adjustment on how much fresh air and exhaust air is needed. The nursing simulation labs located on the second floor facing Fairfield all have HEPA filters and are 100% outside air. The rest of the building relies on Window AC units and hydronic heat with operable windows. Some smaller, recently renovated areas on floors 0 and 1 do have heating and cooling upgrades that allow for a minimum of 15% fresh air supply.
  • Warner Hall — All three floors have a minimum of 15% fresh air and 15% exhaust air. Fresh air damper positions for outside air change based on CO2 The higher the CO2 level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Haas Library – All floors have a minimum of 10% fresh air and 10% exhaust air. This building pulls in less fresh air due to humidity control requirements. Fresh air damper positions open when outdoor air temperature and humidity levels are optimal for cooling or heating the building without exceeding the preset humidity control programs.
  • Science Building – All labs and animal rooms have 100% fresh air and 100% exhaust air. The balance of the building has a minimum of 15% fresh air and 15% exhaust air. Fresh air damper positions for outside air change due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Honors House – Office areas and lyceum have 15% fresh air supply. The lower level is cooled using ductless air systems.
  • Police Department — There is a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted. Fresh air damper positions for outside air change due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Midtown Student Center – All floors have a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted. Fresh air damper positions adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Newbury Hall – The current housing office and the first floor main student lounge both have a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted. Lounges located on floors two to five experience a minimum of 15% fresh air (units turn off if windows are open). Residential rooms have operable windows. Fresh air damper positions for outside air adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Litchfield Hall – Main lounges on the first floor and front lobby have a minimum of 50% fresh air being brought in and 50% being exhausted. Residential rooms have operable windows. Fresh air damper positions for outside air adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens. Health Services has a manual damper to bring in outdoor air. This system is independent of the rest of the building.
  • Higgins Hall – All floors are designed for maximum fresh air and exhaust air, with no specific set point for dampers. Normal operation is around 90% fresh air and 90% exhaust air. Damper positions for outside air adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • Berkshire Hall – The building was not equipped with an air conveyance system when initially built but improvements have been made during many renovations. The lower level has ductless systems that provide 15% fresh air. The gym air handler brings in 100% outside air when not in heating season. The first and second floors have a combination of ducted central air and window units.
  • Centennial Hall – The lounge located in the basement and the front lobby have a minimum of 15% fresh air and 15% exhaust air. Residential rooms have operable windows. Exhaust fans located in all residential restrooms operate 24/7.
  • Grasso Hall – All corridors have 100% fresh air and the main floor lounge has 15% fresh air. Residential rooms have operable windows. Exhaust fans located in all restrooms run 24/7.
  • Pinney Hall – The fitness center, main lounge, and front lobby all have a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted. Residential rooms have minimal fresh air in living rooms and have operable windows in bedrooms. Exhaust fans located in all residential restrooms run 24/7.
  • Observatory – Roughly 15% fresh air being introduced.
  • Westside Classroom Building – The main air handler brings in 100% outside air that is distributed throughout floors one through four. On the fifth floor approximately 15% outside air is being introduced.
  • Westside Campus Center – All floors have a minimum of 15% fresh air being introduced in and 15% being exhausted. Fresh air damper positions for outside air adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.
  • O’Neill Center – All floors have a minimum of 25% fresh air being brought in and 25% being exhausted.
  • Field House Stadium – Basement has 100% fresh air and 100% exhaust air, and the coaches’ office spaces have a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted.
  • Visual and Performing Arts Center — All floors have a minimum of 15% fresh air being brought in and 15% being exhausted. Fresh air damper positions for outside air adjust due to CO2 The higher the level due to occupancy, the more the damper opens.

Other Important Information

COVID-19 Mask & Social Distancing Guidelines for the CSCU System

Connecticut Travel Advisory