With the school year underway, now is a great time to review cleaning protocols and ensure your facility is prepared for the respiratory disease season. While respiratory viruses are detected year-round, the season usually “occurs in the fall and winter, with peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Respiratory viruses, including the common cold, flu, COVID-19, and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), are contagious pathogens that are primarily spread through droplets expelled when breathing, talking, sneezing, and even singing. They are of particular concern in schools due to their potential to cause outbreaks and disrupt educational activities. Proper disinfecting protocols not only promote a healthy and productive learning environment but also instill confidence in parents, students, and staff. Therefore, it is vital for schools to implement robust cleaning procedures to mitigate the transmission of these viruses and maintain a safe learning environment. Let’s explore some key points to ensure cleaning for health and
safety is optimized in your schools.
Assess Your Cleaning Protocols and Communicate with Staff
Conduct a thorough assessment of the existing cleaning protocols. Review what has worked well in the past and identify areas that might need improvement. Reach out to your contract cleaner, building service contractor, or distributor to help identify any gaps or offer new innovations. Stay current with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s site for some simple steps to help slow the spread of Colds, Flu, RSV and COVID-19.
It is important to review your cleaning protocols with all your school’s staff, including teachers and administrators. It is essential that everyone is familiar with the measures and their responsibilities in maintaining cleanliness in shared spaces throughout the school year.
Organize and Declutter Classrooms for Cleaning
Confirm that all classrooms are neat and well-ordered before the cleaning process begins. This will make it easier for custodial staff to reach all areas, including high-touch surfaces, and perform a more thorough cleaning.
Ensure Proper Inventory of Your Cleaning Supplies
Having an ample supply of cleaning products and equipment is crucial for maintaining a hygienic environment. Stock up on disinfectants, sanitizers, hand soaps, paper towels, can liners, and other materials to ensure appropriate supplies are available during the school year.
Implement Additional Hygiene Measures Throughout the School
In addition to regular cleaning, consider implementing extra hygiene measures. Install hand sanitizing stations at key locations throughout the school, including entrances, hallways, and classrooms. Encourage students to wash their hands regularly and provide education on proper handwashing techniques, which includes using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC.
Communicate with Parents, Students, and Staff
Open and transparent communication with the school community is vital. Inform parents, students, and staff about the disinfecting efforts being taken to create a safe learning environment. Provide clear instructions on hygiene practices and what steps the school is taking to ensure cleanliness.
Preparing your school for the winter illness season with a strong focus on disinfecting is crucial for the well-being of the entire school community. Assessing existing protocols, stocking up on cleaning supplies, and implementing additional hygiene measures are key steps to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. Moreover, involving the entire community through communication and feedback will foster a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility for maintaining cleanliness. By taking these measures, you can create an environment where students can thrive, parents can have peace of mind, and staff can work confidently knowing that cleaning efforts are a top priority.