As schools across the country begin the process of opening back up again, it’s safe to say that anxiety levels are high. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has represented an enormous challenge for all of us, but that’s especially true as someone who is tasked with offering the safest facilities possible for so many students and faculty members on a daily basis.
Yes, keeping your school facilities clean this year is going to be a challenge. But by keeping a few key things in mind, you can at least rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything you can to curb the spread of harmful germs in your environment as much as possible.
STEP 1: MAKE SURE THE BEST CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR SCHOOLS ARE READILY AVAILABLE
Maybe the most important way to keep your school facilities clean this year involves making sure you have easy access to the best sanitizers for schools in the first place.
Long before classes begin, you should have an ample supply of products like Benefect Decon 30 or Shockwave RTU from Fiberlock. In addition to being EPA registered products, they’re perfect for even the most sensitive surfaces and they’re also ready-to-use. This means that there is no mixing necessary before application.
STEP 2: AVOID SHARING WHENEVER POSSIBLE
According to the Centers for Disease Control, both teachers and students should avoid sharing any books, supplies or other items this year in an effort to curb the spread of harmful germs during the pandemic. If sharing is absolutely necessary, make sure that all items are cleaned before transfer using the right disinfectants for schools.
STEP 3: COMMUNICATION IS KING
Obviously, keeping your school facility clean this year is going to require significant changes to your standard operating procedure. Because of that, it is critically important to make sure that all of these new best practices are properly communicated to not only students and staff, but to family members as well.
Decide on an avenue to communicate all important updates to relevant parties and stick to it. You could use SMS-based text messaging, emails, hand out letters, post regular updates to your school’s website or do all of these at the same time.
No matter what, make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and what has changed this year. Parents of younger kids in particular are going to have questions about what types of daycare cleaning products you’re using, for example, and it’s absolutely in your own best interest to make those answers readily available to avoid confusion and to create confidence in your approach.
STEP 4: KEEP WINDOWS AND DOORS OPEN WHENEVER POSSIBLE
In addition to general cleaning, the CDC also recommends that schools keep windows and doors open as often as possible to increase the circulation of outdoor air.
This is another great way to prevent the spread of airborne germs that may allow the Coronavirus to thrive in your environment.
STEP 5: KNOW WHAT TO CLEAN AND WHEN
In addition to cleaning and disinfecting sensitive surfaces daily, you should make it a priority to use sanitizers for schools on all frequently touched surfaces and objects. Just a few of the items you’ll want to pay close attention to include things like:
- Door knobs
- Door handles
- Stair rails
- Classroom desks and chairs.
- Tables in lunch rooms
- Light switches
- Shared computer keyboards and other accessories
- Bus seats
- Handrails and more
STEP 6: YOUR PPE WILL NEED CLEANING, TOO
The chances are high that at a bare minimum, you’ll be distributing face masks, face shields and other PPE-related items to students and faculty this year. Understand that face masks shouldn’t be used indefinitely – they should always be laundered as needed and they should be changed out entirely when they become visibly soiled.
STEP 7: KNOW WHAT TO DO IF A STUDENT OR STAFF MEMBER GETS SICK
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that with so many people sharing spaces for many hours a day, the chances are high that you WILL have a student or staff member fall ill this year. In the event that this happens, isolate the person until they’re able to leave the facility and wait as long as possible until you begin to clean the infected area.
Clean and disinfect all areas that were used by the sick person and pay particular attention to any high-touch surfaces. Wear gloves while you’re cleaning and be absolutely sure to wash your hands as soon as you’re done. If you have to call in a professional cleaning service to assist, that’s okay – remember that this is one of those situations where the stakes are too high to leave anything to chance.