While nothing is in stone, it does appear some schools around the state will be opening later this summer if everything goes as hoped. “Schools, summer and fall programs, childcare and higher education can open with safety guidelines, and all outdoor recreation programs will be allowed,” according to Governor Pritzker.
However, that does not mean that administrators can just unlock the doors and welcome students and staff back in school facilities. Far from it. Reopening must be planned, and decisions must be made to ensure summer facilities are clean and healthy.
We are working with many school administrators around the state, helping them re-open, and here are some of the things we are advising them to do:
Perform a Deep Clean
Most schools have been closed since March. They’re dusty. Bathrooms have not been cleaned in all that time, potentially causing bacteria to build up. Floors need to be vacuumed and cleaned, and hard surface floors likely need to be mopped if not machine scrubbed.
In addition, all desks, tables, counters, high touch areas as well as restrooms and kitchens must be detail cleaned.
We are not taking these steps not just to remove dust or soil build up on surfaces. We are doing this because many of these same areas must now be disinfected. In cleaning, administrators should always remember to clean first to remove soils and disinfectant second to kill pathogens.
Disinfecting the School
As you can imagine, re-cleaning all the same areas we have just discussed with a disinfectant can be a very time-consuming process. Fortunately, there are highly effective options that protect student and staff health that are also faster and cost-effective.
What we use, and what we recommend to our clients, is the use of electrostatic sprayers.
These systems are not new. But due to the COVID pandemic, they have certainly proven to be the right disinfecting system at the right time.
Electrostatic sprayers release a specialized solution on to surfaces. The solution is positively charged and adheres to most surfaces – counters, walls, high touch areas, desks, etc. – which are negatively charged. The spray can coat surfaces evenly and can also be used to disinfect hard to reach areas. In minutes, the just cleaned surfaces are disinfected and contamination-free.
While we recommend the use of electrostatic sprayers before schools are reopened, they should also be used regularly once buildings are in use. We recommend some form of a set schedule.
Once schools are reopened, administrators must realize we are now living in a “new normal” when it comes to school operations and cleaning. Business as usual, as it has been carried out for years, is over.
To address these changes, some of the suggestions we have for administrators for school reopeing are the following:
Increase cleaning frequencies. Unfortunately, many school districts have had to cut back from cleaning five times per week to three, even two. Because COVID is so contagious, schools should be cleaned at least three times per week, if not five. This may sound overly cautious, primarily because schools may not be used as much and by as many students in the summer months, but what’s our alternative? Risk someone getting this disease.
Evaluate all cleaning solutions/disinfectants used. Many school districts purchase their own cleaning supplies, especially if they are cleaned in-house. We must now pay close attention to the disinfectants selected. They must be certified by the EPA to help prevent the spread of COVID. Additionally, they must be used exactly as the manufacturer suggests.
Ask for help. If in-house custodians clean your facility, we are finding it an excellent idea to ask a reputable, experienced cleaning contractor to go to the schools, evaluate the current cleaning program in place, as well as the products in use. This “fresh set of eyes” can help ensure steps to stop the spread of infection are being employed and can also help reduce cleaning times. This means that custodial workers can perform more cleaning tasks in the same amount of time.
While the goal of this blog is to help school administrators prepare for reopening their schools this summer, there is one more thing we would like to suggest: ask for a free quote.
State budgets, city budgets, and school budgets are all stretched to the max. Often, turning cleaning over to an outside cleaning contractor can be a significant cost saving, and one less thing school administrators need to be concerned about in these trying times.
The Secure Clean blog is designed to help building managers keep their facilities cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer, in the most cost-effective ways possible. To learn more about us, please take a few minutes to explore our website at www.securecleanbsi.com, contact us here, or at 888-609-1410.