Healthy Schools

Hygiene and Cleanliness are Top-of-Mind this Back-to-School Season

Summer is flying by, which means a new school year is around the corner. As students begin to fill the hallways, so does an inevitable influx of germs and illnesses. A successful school year starts with creating a safe and healthy environment to welcome students back. Prepare your building for a new school year with these hygiene and cleaning recommendations:

Encourage Proper Hand Hygiene

It’s common knowledge that handwashing is an effective way to reduce the transmission of germs. However, studies show that only 58% of female and 48% of male middle- and high-school students wash their hands after using the bathroom. When handwashing is done routinely and correctly, it can greatly reduce the risk of transmitting germs and illnesses, making it important to encourage proper hand hygiene practices throughout the school day.

Help remind students how to correctly wash their hands effectively by going over the correct steps or posting signage in restrooms that display hand hygiene practices. This includes how long to wash, scrub and rinse hands as well as proper drying techniques. It’s also important to identify key times to wash hands. For example, before snack time, eating lunch or treating a wound. Additionally, after using the restroom, playing outside, or being around someone who is sick are prime times to wash hands.

Another way to promote hand hygiene compliance in your school includes having hand sanitizer available in high-traffic areas such as classrooms. This allows students and faculty to quickly sanitize their hands while on the go. Consider outsourcing the restocking of hand sanitizer and soap via a third-party organization that can help ensure your school won’t run out of hand hygiene solutions.

Regular Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are terms that are often interchangeably used; yet, it’s easy to mix up the difference between these words and how to use them to create a clean and safe school. Cleaning is simply removing dust, dirt and matter that can be removed with soap and water prior to disinfecting and sanitizing. Disinfecting kills viruses while sanitizing reduces pathogenic agents like bacteria on surfaces.

It's also important to know how often you should be cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing classrooms and common areas. While some tasks can be done daily, others may only need to be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Help ensure custodial and maintenance staff have easy access to these tools by providing disinfectant wipes and sanitation products in classrooms.

Optimize Maintenance Training

Ensure your custodial and maintenance staff are equipped for a new school year with optimized training and cleaning protocols. This includes having a set schedule for how often classrooms, restrooms and high-traffic areas need to be cleaned. This not only makes cleaning easier for your custodians but results in a cleaner facility.

Providing regular training sessions for your custodial and maintenance staff is another way to ensure they are meeting your facility’s cleanliness standards. In recent years, the cleaning industry has seen a high turnover rate of custodial workers, meaning that new employees may not have prior experience in maintaining a school. Frequent training helps employees understand the latest cleaning protocols and techniques to create a safe and healthy learning environment.

Hiring outsourced cleaning professionals who are trained in cleaning large facilities, like a school, can help alleviate stress on your custodial staff. Additionally, you can determine how often your school needs outsourced services and create a schedule that works best for your building. Outsourced cleaning teams provide their own equipment and cleaning tools which ultimately saves money and time that would otherwise be spent on auditing cleaning practices and restocking custodial inventory.

School is Nearly Back in Session

Welcome back students soon with the confidence that your school exceeds cleanliness and health expectations. Help make learning easier by promoting the safety of students and staff. Implementing these key recommendations can not only benefit your school but will kick off a successful start to the year.

About the Author

Christiny Betsch is a marketing manager for the Facility Services division of Cintas and is currently responsible for managing product and service needs for hygiene and restroom cleaning services along with the Cintas Branch & Vine® collection. For more information about facility services offerings from Cintas, visit