COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures for the NonProfit Center

COVID-19 in the Workplace and Prevention

As we look toward returning to our workspaces, a common topic of conversation is around what exposure risks are in an office setting. Public health experts all over the world are hard at work researching this evolving pandemic, and a recent CDC study may be our best source of information at the moment.

This study tracked and tested every individual who was in or around one specific building in South Korea for five or more minutes. While there is more to the study, the key findings showed that the virus:

  • Did not seem to travel through HVAC systems, though air flow could potentially increase the distance that viral particles may travel;
  • Did not spread in the circulation areas of the building;
  • Transmission resulted from prolonged exposure to another infected person in a close setting.

Even with much interaction between occupants of different floors and in the elevators and lobbies, all infections at this building were confined to a single floor, with most of those infected having been in close proximity to the source. The illustration below shows that transmission (in blue) is affected by proximity and prolonged exposure to an infected person:

Chart of infections in an office setting

While this is not to say that there is no cause for concern when traveling through the NPC, it is important to base our decisions on the available facts. The one point on which there is wide consensus is the role of facial coverings in minimizing transmissions.

It is believed that it may take as few as 1,000 viral particles to infect a new host. A single cough can create as many as 3,000 such particles, with sneezes releasing 10 times that number. It has been shown that facial coverings can reduce the spread of these particles at the source. For this reason, we are asking every person who comes in to the NPC to wear facial coverings, especially given that the data shows asymptomatic transmission is a large part of the outbreak. Furthermore, studies show that masks do indeed play a significant role in decreasing your chances of being infected.

This policy will be enforced in all common areas, and we ask that you encourage all staff to keep facial coverings on as much as possible even within your office. In addition, we ask that you implement policies in your office to help keep the NPC a safe place to work. These specific requests are in the “Asks for Tenants” section in the guidelines below.

Upon your return, you will notice some changes to the NonProfit Center:

  • While there will still be a friendly (but masked) face at the desk to greet you, they will be behind a sneeze guard.
  • Signs throughout the lobby and the building with instructions and reminders about social distancing. We ask that you respect these instructions not only for your own health and safety, but for others in the building as well.
  • A new temporary Day Porter in addition to Jesus, our Cleaning Manager. The additional staff will assist with sanitizing all surfaces throughout the common areas, restrooms, and kitchens.
  • An increase hum from the HVAC machinery as it works overtime to provide an abundance of fresh and filtered air. The NPC is a LEED certified green building, and in February our air quality was tested as part of the Energy Star certification process; our air quality far exceeds the requirements from the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard. You may notice Joe, our Engineer, moving throughout the building to ensure that all systems are fully operational.
  • An increase in the water temperature to ensure that hot water is available for thorough hand washing in accordance to CDC recommendations.

One thing that will remain the same is that we will continue to be Boston’s hub for social change, and a safe place for you to do the important work you do for our society.

By working together, we can ensure a safe environment for everyone returning to on-site work. And as with everything COVID-19 related, this will be an evolving document.

NPC Reopening Procedures and Policies (As of March 14, 2020)

PLEASE SHARE THESE WITH INVITED GUESTS AND VISITORS AHEAD OF ARRIVAL.

General Social Distancing Rules:

  • Everyone is required to wear face masks in all common areas in the building.
  • If you have any flu-like symptoms, please do not enter the building until cleared by medical professionals to do so, if possible.
  • Please use the stairwells when possible rather than the elevators, especially on the way down. We are limiting elevators to one person per car.
  • When passing in the hallways, please maintain as much distance as possible.
  • Each restroom can be used by two people at a time; we have installed sliders to indicate the number of persons in each restroom so please update this as you go in and out of the restrooms.
  • Do not use any meeting spaces that are not reserved, and only use these spaces for the reserved times. Reservations will be spaced out by a half hour to allow our cleaning crew to sanitize between meetings. Availability of conference spaces and limitations on usage is to be determined, but will be done in accordance to best practices.
  • Between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., we ask that you only access the Shared Kitchens at the times designated for your organization. Please contact your administrator for more information.
  • The Courtyard cannot be used by more than 10 people at any one time.
  • Conference Rooms will be limited to the number of persons allowed to congregate per government guidelines.
  • Please do not store any items in the lockers in the Lower Level showers.

Entry/Exit Protocol:

  • One revolving door will be locked, but both the front door and left side revolver will be kept unlocked. The revolver will be used as the primary entrance, with the main doors reserved for exiting the building.
  • For those with physical impairments, the main entrance will continue to serve as both the entrance and exit.
  • When entering the building, please stand 6 feet apart leading to the main doors.
  • Upon entering the building, please stand 6 feet apart leading to the turn-stiles; please wait at the marked designated spots
  • Please remain 6 feet away from the front desk when in the lobby.
  • Only four people may be in the first floor elevator lobby at any one time.
  • Only one person per elevator car allowed.
  • When coming down, you are encouraged to use Stairwell B, which can be found near the restrooms on each floor.
  • If going up, you are encouraged to use Stairwell A before going through the turnstiles. This is the stairwell near the elevator lobby on each floor.
  • When exiting the building during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., please do so through the courtyard if possible.
  • AT ALL TIMES, please respect any requests from the front desk staff person or the staff person near the doors.

Visitor Access:

  • ALL visitors must be in the Building Engines visitor system before they will be allowed in to the building. Visitors will not be allowed in to the building more than 5 minutes prior to their expected arrival time.
  • All visitors should wear masks inside of the building. If they do not have one, the front desk staff will provide one for them.
  • Visitors should then give their name as well as the name of the organization they are visiting to the front desk staff.
  • If they are on the list, they will be sent through the turnstiles following the same protocol in the “Entry/Exit” list above. If they are not on the list, we will attempt to contact the host organization while asking the visitor to stand at the designated space away from the front desk and entry. If we are unable to verify the visitor, we will ask the visitor to contact the organization directly to ask to be added to the visitor list.
  • When exiting the building, visitors should do so through the courtyard when possible.

Conference Rooms:

  • As of Monday July 13, 2020, Boston has entered in to Phase 3. In Phase 3, gatherings of up to 8 people per 1,000 s.f. are allowed. While we will not be offering our spaces to outside clients, tenants may now begin using the shared conference rooms in accordance to these guidelines.
  • Availability will be limited to between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.; all meetings must be scheduled in advance through Resource Scheduler.
  • Capacity for each space will be as follows:
    • Conference Center East: 8 people
    • Conference Center West: 16 people
    • Conference Center (Combined): 24 people
    • Community Room: 8 people
  • Reservations must be spaced out by a minimum of 1 hour to allow for proper sanitizing.
  • Tenants are asked to wipe down all surfaces and any materials touched using the cleaning supplies that are provided.
  • Please maintain social distancing at all times within the conference rooms.

Requests for our Tenants:

  • In order to facilitate social distancing at the NPC, we are requesting that tenants ask 50% of your staff to work remotely on any given day if possible, and ensure that all staff maintain at least 6 feet of distance between their work areas. If this is not possible within your space, please contact the Property Management team.
  • If possible, please stagger the arrival and departure times for your staff to avoid congestion in the lobby, elevators, and stairwells during peak times.
  • Please limit any outside visitors to the building. If you do have visitors, please enter them into the Building Engines visitor system and provide them with the “Visitor Access” guidelines listed above.
  • Please ask that your staff practice general social distancing guidelines when commuting, going out for lunch, etc.
  • In addition to the cleaning protocols of the building, we ask that you wipe down any surfaces in your offices that you interact with as often as possible.
  • If using any shared spaces, please be sure to wipe down all surfaces and any items touched (door knobs, markers, etc.) before leaving the room.

Additional Health and Safety Precautions Taken by the NPC Staff:

  • Nanoseptic elevator button and door handle covers have been installed throughout the building.
  • In addition to our Cleaning Manager, we have a cleaner on site daily to assist with sanitizing all common areas throughout the day.
  • All kitchens will be sanitized after 2:00 p.m. each weekday.
  • All meeting rooms will be sanitized during the half hour slots built-in between each meeting.
  • All hand sanitizer stations, restrooms soaps, and dishwashing stations will be filled at all times.
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures will take place both during the day and after hours.
  • Increased run time for HVAC equipment to further filter the air.
  • Changing filters regularly for HVAC equipment, rooftop air intake, etc.
  • Ensure all windows in the building are operable if additional air flow is needed/requested.