Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 FAQs
While EHS does not provide respirators or personal protective equipment (PPE), EHS is working directly with impacted departments to ensure staff are adequately protected.
Please click here for guidelines around the voluntary use of respirators.
If you or a team member require a respirator as part of your job and have not been previously cleared by EHS to wear one, please contact EHS at email@example.com.
For more information around ordering PPE for your unit or department, please refer to
FAQ for the Acquisition of PPE from the University's Centralized Critical Supply Inventory.
Although EHS does not provide nor stock hand sanitizer, in place of hand sanitizer, wash your hands at a sink with soap and warm water or at a handwashing sink in the lab for at least 20 seconds, whenever possible. Hand sanitizer should only be used in places where there is no sink available. Refer to https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html for additional information.
There are recipes online for homemade hand sanitizers, but soap and water remains the most effective means for removing germs. Hand sanitizer may be used as a temporary means, but proper handwashing must follow the use of a hand sanitizer, if at all possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided guidance on homemade sanitizer at https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Guide_to_Local_Production.pdf.
You should disinfect equipment before and after use with a CDC-recommended disinfectant against SARS-CoV-2. These include products that include 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide, at least 70 percent alcohol or 1-5 percent bleach diluted in water. See the EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19 as well as the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) list of products that have been pre-approved by the EPA for use against emerging enveloped viral pathogen. Contact EHS if you have any questions regarding the appropriate disinfectants.
Please speak with your supervisor about purchasing the appropriate disinfectants listed above.
Biosafety cabinets are required to be certified on an annual basis. As of March 24, 2020, certification vendors are still providing services following all CDC recommendations. If you wish to delay certification, please reschedule your certification date with the vendor. As long as the unit is still functioning appropriately and there are no immediate operational concerns, you may wait to have the unit certified.
Per Governor Northam’s mandate, group gatherings are limited to 10 people or less. Please refer to the Virginia Tech COVID-19 Employee FAQs as well as the CDC Don’t Spread Germs at Work handout. Please consider using alternative methods such as teleconference, zoom, and email for departmental or group meetings.
Call ahead before you seek medical care at Schiffert Health Center (540-231-6444), Lewis Gale Hospital Montgomery-Emergency Department (540-951-1111), or your health care provider office if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, including fever. Tell the receptionist or your provider about your recent travel and symptoms.
For more information, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message. For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit