Skip to main content

Physical Spaces

General guidelines

Common areas

Social distancing can be hard in shared spaces on campus. Everyone should take the following steps to keep others safe in common areas:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Bring your own meal and employees should consider eating at their desks if physical distancing can be maintained to limit time in shared break rooms (see policy UA-21 for more details).
  • Maintain physical distancing while waiting in lines. Look out for visible markings that illustrate safe distances.
  • Use stairs instead of elevators when possible.
  • Avoid using conference rooms where proper physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Building entries and exits

When entering or exiting a building, consider the following:

  • Avoid lingering near exits.
  • Maintain adequate physical distancing.
  • Use the hand sanitizer located at the entries/exits of high-traffic buildings.

Configuring spaces for learning and work

  • When working in classrooms, offices, conference rooms, lounges, information study spaces and libraries, physically distance to allow for 6 feet of space all around you (roughly 60 square feet per person).
  • Use caution and double your physical distance from others when:
    • activities require a high degree of mobility or motion throughout the space.
    • occupants come and go frequently.
    • space is limited due to furniture, equipment or other obstructions.


When possible, avoid using elevators all together and take the stairs.

If you must ride in an elevator, please:

  • Use hand sanitizer after use when possible.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Maintain physical distancing and do not overcrowd elevators.

Water fountains and public water access

Do drink directly from water fountains. Instead:

  • Fill a personal water bottle or cup to drink from.
  • Look for available disposable cups to fill and drink from.

Emergency evacuations

  • Masks must be worn during emergency evacuations.
  • Keep a mask on hand when alone in your room or office, even if you are not wearing it, in preparation for an emergency evacuation.

Guidelines for chemical and biological laboratories

In addition to taking typical safety measures for chemical and biological laboratories, you will need to follow specific guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 in these spaces.


When working in hazardous chemical or biological laboratories, you may need to follow specific guidance set by regulatory agencies. Start with these guidelines:

  • When in a laboratory with chemical or biological hazards, do not wear cloth face masks or other forms of respiratory protection that have been worn outside of the laboratory.
  • Seal your non-laboratory mask inside a closable paper bag with your name on it when entering the laboratory area.
  • Wear a disposable surgical or isolation mask when working with colleagues inside laboratory areas containing chemical or biological hazards (unless laboratory hazards would require a higher level of protection, such as an N95).
  • When leaving, take off the disposable surgical/isolation mask and dispose of it or place it in a labeled paper bag for reuse if you plan to return to the lab. Masks worn inside the laboratory must stay in the laboratory area.

Lab coats

  • Assign lab coats to individuals.
  • Do not share your lab coat without washing it first.
  • Wash lab coats regularly. Use the warmest water possible when washing coats, and make sure they are dried completely.
  • Do not take lab coats home for laundering.

Other considerations

Many doors on campus will remain propped open so those entering and exiting don’t need to touch handles. Do NOT prop open fire doors in labs. These doors protect stairs, laboratories and buildings by containing fire and smoke. If propped open, you will be in danger using stairs to evacuate, and laboratory research can be threatened by fire or smoke spread. Keep these doors closed and use a paper towel to grab door handles.

Consider other safety-related factors associated with reentering labs where work has been paused due to COVID-19. Refer to Interim Guidance for Bringing Laboratories Out of Hibernation for more information.

Guidelines for camps, childcare facilities, and programs with children

Childcare facilities on campuses should follow the risk mitigation strategies outlined in this site, along with in-state Family and Social Services Administration FSSA guidance and CDC Business Plans guidance. This includes the following guidelines:

  • Give priority of care to children of essential workers.
  • Advise those in COVID-19 vulnerable populations about the potential enhanced risk of providing care.
  • Maintain physical distance, and do not allow more than 20 children within one classroom or area.