Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Distancing and Disinfection Plan

Note: EH&S continues to maintain this page as a reference to the previous guidance used in developing COVID-19 work plans. The CDC and Washington Department of Health guidance has changed and vaccines are now available. WSU EH&S has learned a lot about how the virus spreads and how it doesn’t by contact tracing and speaking to people infected with the virus, as well as those potentially exposed, but not infected. For the most up to information, please visit our COVID-19 Work Plan webpage.

The Department of Labor & Industries requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace and to implement the Governor’s proclamation to ensure coronavirus prevention.  WSU has a wide range of activities supporting the mission of the university.  Departments have unique obstacles to evaluate to determine the best procedure to ensure social distancing and disinfection practices are maintained.  EH&S has developed a list of considerations.  Not all items will pertain to your department’s circumstances, but at a minimum all departments  must adhere to L&I requirements and ensure social distancing practices are developed and followed, frequent and adequate handwashing or sanitizing is available, surface sanitation completed, sick individuals stay home or go home when they feel ill, and provide basic workplace hazard education.  EH&S’s Disinfection and Distancing plan is provided as a template.  Facilities Services has created a presentation on implementing social distancing strategies to utilize when developing the plan.  Please contact EH&S for assistance, 509-335-3041.



Sick faculty and staff

Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms not attributable to another health condition must:

  • Stay home.
  • Sick faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider, do not show up in person without advanced contact.
  • Wear a mask if possible, e.g. does not hinder breathing, to prevent spreading illness.

Employees who begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms while at work, not attributable to another health condition must:

  • Contact their supervisor OR Disability Services remotely, by phone or electronic mail, indicating they are leaving work due to COVID-19-like symptoms.
  • Wear a mask if possible, e.g. does not hinder breathing, to prevent spreading illness.
  • Leave work while maintaining 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
  • Contact their healthcare provider; do not show up in person without advanced contact.
  • Contact Disability Services for leave options at 509-335-4521.

Note: The supervisor or Disability Services contacts EH&S at 509-335-3041 to coordinate disinfecting potentially affected common areas and/or isolating affected private offices/areas.


  • Wash hands often with soap for 20 seconds.  Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.  To obtain hand sanitizer visit the EH&S Hand Sanitizer webpage.  After July 1, hand sanitizer will be provided through University Stores.
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sick people.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or crook of elbow.  Dispose of tissue immediately.


  • Provide disinfection supplies to your personnel.  To obtain disinfectants visit the EH&S Disinfection webpage for distribution locations and schedule.  After July 1, disinfectants will be provided through University Stores.
  • Use only EPA approved disinfectants e.g. 70% alcohol, Alpha HP.
  • Disinfect common touch surfaces frequently.  Develop a schedule to ensure adequately disinfected.
  • Disinfect shared equipment before and after use.  Limiting shared equipment or personnel access to single occupant spaces reduces the need for disinfection.
  • Follow manufacturers’ instructions for the amount of contact time required to disinfect and personal protective equipment guidance.  Note: 5 minutes contact time for Alpha HP, and 20-30 seconds contact time for 70% alcohol.

Education and training

  • Complete Disinfecting the Workplace and Pandemics: Slowing the Spread available through HRS Learning and Organizational Development.
  • Read and maintain readily available copies of the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the disinfectants used in the workplace.
  • Complete PPE training for equipment identified on disinfectant product SDS.
  • All employees should read and understand departments Distance and Disinfection Plan.

maintain social and physical distancing

  • Continue working remotely if feasible.
  • Maintain 6 feet between people, allow only infrequent and intermittent passing within 6 feet.
  • Separate work stations by 6 feet, do not hold meetings in offices.
  • Limit numbers on elevators to allow 6 feet distance, uses stairs if able
  • One person per vehicle.
  • Schedule work shifts to enhance distancing, or work in alternate locations e.g. remote work vs. office work.
  • Schedule breaks to enhance distancing, or take breaks in alternate locations.
  • Stagger personnel arrival and departure schedules to enhance distancing and avoid bottle necks at entrances and break rooms.
  • Use electronic meeting formats if possible.
  • If circumstances require in person meetings limit to 10 people and consider meeting outside or in an open or well ventilated area.
  • Stagger pickups and drop offs.
  • Use drop boxes or bins.
  • Install physical barriers e.g. sneeze guards and visual barriers e.g. barrier tape, floor markings.

Personal protective equipment

  • Maintaining 6 feet between people protects against mucous membrane exposure to SARS CoV2, the virus causing COVID-19.
  • WSU employees must wear cloth facial coverings when not working alone: in their office, in the field, or driving in a vehicle. Cloth facial coverings reduce the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets while breathing and talking. Cloth facial coverings are not respirators, they do not replace social distancing (6 feet), avoiding face touching and frequent hand washing. See also the EH&S PPE webpage.
  • Respirators are not recommended for preventing SARS CoV2 exposure while adhering to social distancing requirements. Employees must wear cloth facial coverings when not working alone, with only infrequent and intermittent contact at distances less than 6 feet. When work tasks require employees to work within 6 feet of coworkers or the public for several minutes, without sneeze guards or other controls, employees must wear disposable dust masks or KN95s. Note: KN95s are not NIOSH approved respirators. Employees must wear respirators to prevent COVID-19 exposure when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained for sustained periods, or when working with symptomatic or positive COVID-19 patients. WSU respirator users must enroll in the Respiratory Protection Program.
  • Face shields prevent direct exposure to expelled droplets containing SARS-CoV2.  They also protect eye when applying disinfectants.
  • The workplace hazard assessment identifies task specific PPE, see the EH&S PPE webpage for more information.
  • When using disinfectants, use the PPE identified on the product Safety Data Sheet.
    Product Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    Alpha HP (diluted product) No PPE required for diluted product (not concentrated)
    70% Alcohol (30% water) Avoid eye contact, safety glasses
    1 to 10 dilution of household bleach `0.5% sodium hypochlorite Safety glasses, nitrile or rubber gloves

    Note: Bleach may damage some surfaces, the provided Alpha HP  common touch surface disinfectant is recommended.