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Pandemic Disinfection Standard Operating Procedures

A pandemic occurs when a novel virus emerges for which the majority of the population has little or no immunity. Pandemics are facilitated by sustained human-to-human transmission, and the infection spreads worldwide over a relatively short period of time. In the event of a pandemic, international, national, state, and local experts will advise on recommended mitigation measures appropriate to a specific area based on severity of the outbreak.

The content of this standard operating procedure is directed to the general campus community and is not intended for high risk areas, such as health care facilities. This standard operating procedure (SOP) summarizes current recommendations from public health agencies available in the public domain. The World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other public health agencies may modify recommendations based on specific attributes of a specific virus.

Cleaning and Disinfecting General Spaces

The information in this SOP is specific to environmental surface cleaning of routinely touched surfaces and objects (e.g. door knobs, desks, keyboards, tables, etc) to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Contact transmission (i.e., hand transfer of virus from contaminated objects to the eyes, nose, or mouth) is a recognized route of virus spread. Routine cleaning of contaminated surfaces is recommended to reduce the spread of viruses.

General Cleaning and Disinfection Considerations

  • Do not clean with dry dusting or sweeping as this may create aerosols. Use damp cleaning methods.
  • Change mop heads, rags, and similar items and disinfectant solutions frequently during the decontamination procedure. Consider disposable cleaning items. Work from areas of light contamination to areas of heavier contamination.
  • Use a double bucket method (one bucked for cleaning solution, one for rinsing).
  • Clean, disinfect, and dry equipment used for cleaning after each use.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after each work session;
  • Consult your supervisor with any questions or concerns.

The preferred means of disinfecting environmental surfaces is washing with detergent and hot water. EPA-registered disinfectants are also acceptable, but generally pose exposure risk and require use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Further guidance and recommended disinfectants may be distributed by CDC and/or WHO as part of the pandemic response.

Cleaning and Disinfecting for COVID-19

This guidance is for cleaning and disinfection of areas where a person with COVID-19 spent time in College spaces. It is applies to a period immediately after a person who is positive for Covid-19 was present in a College space.

  • Cleaning: refers to the removal or germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning is typically performed using soap, detergents, cleaners and clean water before using a disinfecting method.
  • Disinfecting: refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting is typically performed using approved commercial or household disinfecting solutions.
  • Confirmed Case Covid-19: A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection using a validated assay, consisting of positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT: e.g. real-time PCR or nucleic acid sequencing) on at least one specific genome target.


After notification of a person with confirmed COVID-19 on a Montgomery College campus, the following cleaning and disinfecting protocol will be followed:

  • A short-term building closure will be implemented regardless of community spread if an infected person has been on campus. The closure can be from 2-5 days.
  • Close off areas visited by the infected person(s). Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment (like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines) used by the ill person(s), focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • If it has been more than 7 days since the person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is NOT necessary.

Safety Guidelines and Required PPE

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting. Gloves should be discarded when the work task is complete. Do not leave a room with your gloves on, because you will transfer contaminants from the room to door knobs, handles, etc. Remove gloves and discard them then, clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • Wear eye protection (goggle or face shields) when there is a potential for splash or splatter to the face.
  • Gowns or aprons to protect contamination of clothing.
  • Store chemicals in labeled, closed containers. Keep them in a secure area away from food. Store them in a manner that prevents tipping or spilling.
  • All staff must be fully trained on donning and doffing required PPE to prevent cross contamination.

Cleaning and Disinfection of surfaces

  • Clean surfaces and objects that are visibly soiled first. If surfaces are dirty to sight or touch, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. As a rule, you will want to work from top-down, left-to-right pattern or right-to-left pattern working your way out of the area. Should you have any questions, be sure to consult your supervisor before starting to work. Consult Spartan Training Manual and Checkcards.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces as soon as possible in areas where a person with respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing) was present.
  • Use EPA-registered disinfectant for use against the novel coronavirus. Refer to the list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV 2.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe and effective use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., dilution concentration, application method and contact time, required ventilation, and use of personal protective equipment.) Depending on the product used, after allowing for the proper dwell or contact time, and paying extra attention to high touch surfaces...wipe, RINSE, or allow to air dry.
  • Consult manufacturer recommendations on cleaning products appropriate for electronics. If no guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol.
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes:
    1. Remove visible contamination (if present) and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.
    2. After cleaning, launder items (as appropriate) in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
    3. If laundering is not possible, use an EPA-registered disinfectant for use against COVID-19 for porous surfaces.
  • When finished, or at the end of your shift, return supplies and remove personal protective equipment. Any unused disposable wipers that have been charged with disinfectant need to be disposed of. Any launderable cloths or pads not used must be put into soiled linen and be laundered before using again.
  • Thoroughly wash hands. Wet your hands, apply soap and scrub hand thoroughly for 15-20 seconds. Rinse hands and dry with paper towels or air dry.