COVID Related HVAC Operations Plan
Updated Sept. 28, 2020
There are many types of HVAC systems located on the KU campus. While these systems are numerous and varied, they were professionally designed to the standards in place at the time. Because of the variance in the systems and their modes of operation, the adjustments that can be made to the systems in response to COVID-19 will vary as well.
This operations plan was developed based upon the current guidance and recommendations available and will be adjusted as new information becomes available. Sources and guidance used in developing this plan:
- CDC “Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education”; updated May 30, 2020; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
- Pennsylvania Department of Education “Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Postsecondary Education Institutions and Adult Education Programs”; June 3, 2020, Version 1; https://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/K-12/Safe%20Schools/COVID/GuidanceDocuments/PDE%20Preliminary%20Reopening%20Guidance%20Postsecondary%20and%20Adult%20Education.pdf
- OSHA “Guidance on Preparing workplaces for COVID-19” (OSHA 3990-03 2020); https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
- ASHRAE “Environmental Health Committee (EHC) Emerging Issue Brief:
Pandemic COVID-19 and Airborne Transmission”; https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/eiband-airbornetransmission.pdf
- Kutztown University Campus-wide HVAC IAQ Study dated 9/28/20 as prepared by Entech Engineering, Inc.
KU Facilities Management will take the following actions per the current guidance to reduce the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19:
- All HVAC systems will be operated maintaining the use of occupied/unoccupied programming features. However, the run times for the occupied cycle will be adjusted so that systems remain in operation for 2 hours after normally scheduled occupancy ends. This will provide a post-occupancy ventilation purge of buildings.
- Where possible, during occupied cycles, minimum outside air ventilation rates will be increased to allow the introduction of the maximum amount of outside air without compromising building temperature and humidity conditions.
- Where feasible, filtration efficiency will be increased to MERV 13 or best possible without compromising system design parameters or disrupting design air flows.
KU Facilities does not recommend opening windows, doors, or other openings to the outside. Doing so could:
- Adversely affect indoor air conditions and pose a health risk to employees in the building.
- Promote mold growth inside the building.
- Allow pests and insects to enter the building.