From the same yearly recurring threats such as the cold and flu to emerging fears of a pandemic from the Coronavirus in China, the risk of illness is ever present. Especially during the high points of cold and flu season, it’s particularly important to have a prevention plan in place.
How to Keep the School Environment Clean
As discussed in previous posts, the concept of “clean” is a bit of a moving target. You could think of a clean school as “free of mess,” for instance. If the hallways are cleared, the cafeteria is free of leftover milk cartons, and locker rooms don’t have towels laying around, you would be safe saying that your school isn’t messy.
The opposite situation could also be true. A classroom might have books, computers, or backpacks laying around but could also be almost completely sanitary. If all surfaces are wiped down with disinfecting wipes, for example, it’s unlikely that sickness is going to spread in that particular room.
In other words, it’s a mistake to think that, just because a mess is cleaned up, the school is sanitary. The word “clean” is best thought of as an umbrella term that requires both sanitation and mess pickup. An ideal school scores well on the messy and the sanitary test and, especially during flu season, they couldn’t be more important.
Develop School Cleaning Procedures
Cleaning routines come in two flavors. One, from your professional cleaning provider, and two, from internal procedures that you develop with your staff. Both can work in tandem to keep your facility clean and disease-free.
Schools are perfect breeding grounds for contagions like the flu. Crowds of people (mostly kids who aren’t known for being the most sanitary) are all gathered together in a confined environment. However, by developing the right protocols, avoiding major outbreaks isn’t a pipe dream.
In an ideal setup, teachers and students won’t even need to do the hard part. So long as messes are cleaned up and incidents like vomiting are reported immediately, professional cleaning staff will have the expertise to sanitize the area.
Cleaning to Prevent the Flu
We’re right in the thick of it, but it’s never too late to figure out how to prepare for cold and flu season. Every year it seems like there are fears about pandemic influenza, but really we just need to take precautions to mitigate the effects of local outbreaks. Teachers and school staff can be proactive in preventing infections by providing basic supplies to students.
Tissues out and available in every classroom, hand sanitizer stationed near each entrance, and immediately sending students who look sick to the school nurse are all solid ways to mitigate risk. Most important though is getting out of the way and letting professional staff do their job effectively.
No, “get out of the way” doesn’t mean sitting idly by. Far from it. Really, school staff and faculty members should strive to make it as easy as possible for cleaning staff to disinfect critical areas of schools like bathrooms, gyms, eating areas, and all touchpoints like doorknobs, light switches, and railings. Creating a cleaning checklist that outlines cleaning tasks and creates a daily cleaning routine for all staff won’t bring the risk down to zero, but it’s the only way to get it as low as possible.
School staff needs to work in tandem with professional cleaners in order to mitigate the risk of outbreaks.
Pandemic Preparedness Policy
The word pandemic conjures up terrifying feelings in many who hear it. From news stories about Ebola in Africa to games aptly titled “Pandemic”, the phenomenon is permanently seated in the public consciousness.
We’ve all been reading in the news recently about how a new form of Coronavirus is spreading around cities in China. In recent weeks, it has gone international and cases are even beginning to appear throughout the U.S.
However, there is no reason to panic. Outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics are good reminders that sanitation is more important than ever. Some strategies could include putting up signs in restrooms that say “Wash Your Hands!” or making sure parents are being told to have the flu vaccine administered to their children.
A single sick person can begin the spread of a virus throughout a community. By creating a clean environment and strongly suggesting that everyone get their flu shot, you will be forming the beginning of an effective preparedness plan.
For more information, be sure to check out our other blog posts related to sanitation. Kep Klen offers professional school cleaning services, including deep cleaning, and can provide the peace of mind that your facility is safe for everyone inside.