How to Disinfect Schools in this Pandemic

Safe and Clean School
Schools should be cleaned thoroughly especially during this pandemic.

There is no denying the impact the current COVID-19 pandemic has had in the last few months. As of writing, 17.9 million people around the globe have contracted the disease. Of that, more than half a million have died. The United States currently has the most cases and the most number of deaths. Needless to say, the crisis has affected all sectors including education. 

With that said, despite the rising numbers in the States, the topic of school reopening is still in limbo. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont together with State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, has left the decision of school reopening and mode of instruction to the local school districts. This decision is in stark contrast to the recent announcement made by the capitol.  

It will be up to the districts which model to choose. “At this point, we’re recognizing that the districts have to feel comfortable with the plans that they have to ensure health and safety” explained Cardona during the press conference. 

With the growing confusion, it is easy to be distracted by panic and fear. However, if you run a school or a school district, it is your responsibility to keep a level head and make the necessary decisions to ensure the safety of the students. 

September is, now, only a month away. It is high time to prepare and disinfect school grounds to ready it for the school year. Frequent disinfection is non-negotiable especially during this time of the pandemic. However, at this point, it takes more than deep cleaning to truly disinfect your school. Below are a few steps you can follow in order to ensure that your institution is COVID-19 proof:

Develop Strict, Clear Guidelines for Teachers and Students

In a time of crisis, nothing is more important than having a clear line of communication between the school administration, the teachers and staff, and the students. Making sure that everyone is on the same page would ensure the school’s overall safety. 

As a school administrator or principal, you have to remain updated with any changes in your local school systems COVID-19 response strategy. It is your responsibility to act upon these changes and disseminate new rules. 

For the most part, should you decide to reopen schools for face-to-face learning, social distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent disinfection schedules are known to curb the spread of COVID-19. Be very strict in imposing these guidelines with your teachers and students. 

Moreover, do not overlook planning for emergency protocols should a student exhibit signs of the disease. Have a back-up plan if school closures are needed due to a local outbreak. It is always best to be safe than sorry.

Implement Frequent Disinfecting Schedules 

The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. Usually, people are infected when they come in close contact with someone who has the disease. However, the virus can also stay alive on surfaces for up to a few days depending on the climate. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 virus tends to linger in surfaces with colder temperatures for longer.

Cleaning every surface in your school can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, cleaning and disinfecting are two different things. Taking care of visible dirt lowers the risk of coronavirus transmission, however, disinfecting kills almost all germs. 

Viruses and bacteria accumulate over time. This is why it is important to schedule cleaning and disinfecting frequently. Touchpoint cleaning, which is the cleaning of frequently used areas, should be done before the start of class and after the end of the school day. Disinfecting can be done every week – if there is room for it on the budget. 

With that said, work with your maintenance team closely. Let them know that cleaning measures would be more rigorous than ever before.

Make Cleaning Materials Easily Accessible

Especially if you are dealing with younger children, you can’t control their actions. Despite rules, there are kids who aren’t as hygienic as others. What you can do as a school administrator is to make cleaning materials easily available to them. 

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective means to curb the spread of COVID-19. Make sure that every bathroom sink always has a fresh supply of ant-bacterial soap. Install a sink in your cafeteria to encourage kids to wash their hands before eating. Provide alcohol and sanitizers to the students, teachers, and school staff.

Train Teachers To Check for Signs and Symptoms

School-wide disinfection is a good way to protect students while they are on your premises. Unfortunately, you don’t have any control over who they interact with outside school grounds. Despite your best efforts, there is still a chance that your students would contract the disease elsewhere.

In such a case, it is important for your teachers and staff to identify symptoms of COVID-19 and catch it early. Making sure that an infected student or staff member is sent home immediately would help halt the spread of the disease within the school. 

Send Out COVID Informational Packets for Families 

Updates regarding COVID-19 changes by the day. It is a new virus and even scientists are only starting to learn about the pathogen. With that said, there should be no space to vilify confusion. Instead, it is up to you to inform the parents of your students about COVID-19 best practices. This way you safeguard your kids not only while they are in the classroom but also at home. 

Hire Professional Cleaners  

The school’s maintenance team is enough for daily scheduled cleaning. However, for weekly disinfections, you can never be too safe. After all, you are dealing with the health and wellness of children. They are one of the most vulnerable.

In order to truly ensure that touchpoint cleaning is effective and all surfaces are disinfected, hiring the help of professional cleaners should be atop your priority. The right team would be able to provide you the peace of mind that you need in order to reopen your school. It might not be part of the regular budget, but these aren’t regular times. Commercial cleaning services are investments worth making. 

Disinfecting Your School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We live in scary, uncertain times. The pandemic has rattled all sectors to the core. At this point, we don’t know much about what the future holds. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to succumb to our panic and fear. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. With hope, the steps above would enable you and your students to have a safe and fun school year.