Healthy Schools

Combating Coronavirus: Resources on Cleaning and Sanitizing Schools

Each day, there are more and more confirmed cases of people in the U.S. with coronavirus or COVID-19, which causes mild to severe respiratory illnesses. It’s imperative that school leaders take action to prevent the spread of the virus and create a plan in case of an outbreak in their community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance to K-12 schools to prepare and plan for COVID-19. At this time the CDC, considers the immediate health risk of the United States to be low, but that can change at any moment. The CDC considers prevention to be the best way to keep communities healthy. The guideline says:

“There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. Stopping transmission (spread) of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy.”

Since schools serve students, staff, parents, and community members, schools have an important role in slowing the spread of the disease. The CDC cites routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and handwashing techniques to prevent the spread of the virus.

Spaces4Learning has several resources on best practices for cleaning and sanitizing schools and maintaining healthy schools during peak flu season, which can be applied to the coronavirus. Below you’ll find our top articles and a webinar on the subject to help you combat the spread of coronavirus.

Resources on Cleaning and Sanitizing K-12 Schools

Five Ways to Survive the Front Lines of Flu Season

This article covers strategies to clean entranceways, high-touch surfaces, touch points in the restroom, desks and the air.

“Classroom desks are at the same risk for accumulating contaminants and flu particles without a proper schedule of routine cleaning. How dirty can a simple platform for papers and pencils get? University of Arizona environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba found classroom desks carried 400 times the bacteria usually found on a toilet seat.”

Hand Washing, Face Washing, and Disease Prevention

Children do not wash their hands as often as they should, so what should parents and teachers do to help?

“If contagions are on the hands of a child and that child then touches the top of a chair, a railing, a light switch, etc., the chances of those surfaces being touched by another child or teacher are considerable. This is what cross contamination is all about. While it can be a challenge to change this behavior and help protect our children’s health, there are steps parents and teachers can take to improve the odds resulting in less disease and the spread of illness.”

5 Keys to Proactive Locker Room Cleaning

Here are a few tips for often overlooked areas in locker rooms.

“Locker rooms are high-traffic areas. If cleaning doesn’t rise to the frequency of use, that unfairly impacts students using the locker room late in the cleaning cycle. It also increases the amount of soil and particle spread from the locker room to other school spaces.”

Healthy Cleaning

A recent study found that daily disinfection of a public school could reduce absenteeism significantly. Here’s how they did it.

“While these studies show compelling evidence that more effective cleaning can help reduce absenteeism, the researchers also wanted to know what the custodial workers at the school thought about the technologies. For instance, instead of increasing cleaning times, which might be assumed using the three different cleaning systems, the cleaning workers found that cleaning times were reduced.”

Ways School Administrators Can Keep Students and Staff Healthy this Winter

A “surface assessment” can help analyze and determine where pathogens may be located in a school facility. But do you know how to properly disinfect surfaces?

“Surfaces must be cleaned first and then disinfected. ‘Cleaning is the process of removing soils from a surface. Disinfecting is the process of killing pathogens on a surface. The disinfectant will be more effective when the soils are removed.’”

Five Ways to Kickstart Your School's Cleanliness

Practical ways to get your school on a cleaning regimen asap.

“It’s a reality that kids will get sick from time to time, but the implementation of an effective cleaning regimen can decrease the likelihood of students and staff catching the flu by up to 80 percent. These five steps can help your school prevent the spread of germs and other pathogens.”

Keeping Schools Healthy Starts Before the Kids Get to School

How are schools keeping buses clean? It’s an important thing to consider.

“According to the National Education Association (NEA), this can and has proven to be a serious problem. The organization reports, ‘School buses are mobile environments that are prone to the spread of infectious diseases such as colds and the flu. In addition to the number of students who may introduce bacteria and viruses when they board the bus, surfaces such as the seatbacks and handrails can also contribute to the further spread of germs. Keeping these areas clean can help prevent germs and the spread of disease.’”

Bonus: Webinar

Tips for Reducing Illness-Related Absenteeism

Watch our recent webinar on how to curb the spread of disease-causing pathogens. Just sign-up to watch the archived presentation. You’ll learn about:

  • The use of antimicrobial products in the classroom and their benefits
  • Proper foot and desk protectors versus tennis balls for sound mitigation — hypoallergenic solutions over toxic choices
  • The advantages of closed-loop hand-soap systems over bulk refill dispensers, and how to properly clean and disinfect bulk refill dispensers
  • Principles of cleaning and the custodial cause and effect, and why this is so important
  • GREENGUARD® Gold Certification and the impact on VOCs impact (mitigation) over traditional cleaning chemicals