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Personal Hygiene and Protection

COVID-19 spreads easily and sustainably among people. Therefore, in addition to practicing physical distancing, the college expects members of the college community to engage in excellent hand hygiene and sanitary practices, and protect themselves and others through the use of face coverings and other appropriate personal protective equipment when needed. 

Hand Hygiene and Sanitary Practices

Ithaca College expects members of the college community to practice excellent hand hygiene and sanitary practices to protect each other and help minimize the spread of COVID-19. This includes: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throwing used tissues in the trash, and, when a tissue is not available, covering with the elbow, not hands). 
  • It’s especially important to wash:
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your mask
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Availability of Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer dispensers, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, will be located in all campus building lobbies and in other strategic locations throughout campus. There will also be signage near hand sanitizer stations indicating that visibly soiled hands should be washed with soap and water and that hand sanitizer is not effective on visibly soiled hands. Furthermore, college community members should be aware that alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be flammable and may not be suitable for certain areas on campus.

Please be advised that hand washing is generally considered more effective than hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should only be used when hand washing is not possible or practical. We recommend that individuals obtain and carry with them their own supply of hand sanitizer for personal use.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are currently required by New York State for individuals in public spaces.

At the beginning of the semester, employees and students will be provided with two (2) cloth, reusable face coverings. Face coverings are effective at capturing respiratory droplets from individuals reducing the likelihood of person-to-person transmission. Replacement face coverings will be available for purchase at the Campus Store. 

Personal face coverings can be used as well. Acceptable face coverings will include, but are not limited to, cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandanna) or surgical masks. Please note that face shields cannot substitute for a face covering; they can be worn in addition to an acceptable face covering.    

Proper Use of Face Coverings

Face coverings must be worn to cover both your nose and your mouth and should be tied and secured behind your head or both elastic bands should be secured behind your ears.

Face Coverings in Classrooms

Faculty members and students must wear a face covering when the classroom. We recommend that you carry a spare face covering with you at all times in case your primary one is compromised.

For courses where heightened personal protective equipment is required (e.g., face shields or gloves), these will be provided by the college for faculty and students.

Face Coverings on Campus and in the Community

Face coverings are required in every indoor location on campus. The only exceptions to this policy are:

1) when within one’s own office while alone and the door is closed;

2) in a residence hall room with your roommate; or 

3) when seated at a designated dining area while eating.

Additionally, in outdoor venues, face coverings are required whenever 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Public transportation and local businesses in the Ithaca area expect individuals to wear face coverings, so campus members should have a face covering on when in off-campus locations.

Other Types of Personal Protective Equipment

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is identifying situations where more significant personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required for students or employees. For example:

Gloves: Gloves are not required for disinfecting work stations. Gloves are mainly recommended for individuals working with chemicals (i.e., facilities personnel) or where close physical contact between individuals is required (i.e., athletic trainers, dining, Hammond Health Center, or clinic spaces such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and likely some other disciplines). In such instances, the College will provide gloves as needed.

Plexiglass: Plexiglass barriers will be installed in high transaction, forward-facing environments such as the IT Help Desk, Student Financial Services, Department front offices, and dining services.

Face Shields and Gowns: We also do not anticipate that face shields or gowns will be required in most circumstances. However, there are some instances where close physical contact between individuals is required (i.e. athletic trainers, Hammond Health Center, clinic spaces, art, theatre, or other disciplines). In such instances, the College will provide face shields or gowns as needed.

Individuals who require additional PPE will receive the appropriate equipment and receive training to use it properly.

Enforcement of Personal Hygiene and Protection Requirements

Non-compliance with personal hygiene and protective practices (i.e., use of face coverings and other personal protective equipment) is a violation of the community agreement. Violations by faculty or staff will be subject to disciplinary processes in accordance with the respective policies in the Ithaca College Policy Manual or collective bargaining agreement covering the individual. Violations by students, both residential and off-campus, will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.