School Cleaning Best Practices
When students get sick, they miss school, and that can negatively impact their learning and grades. When faculty and staff get sick, you are stuck scheduling last-minute substitutes. But what if students or staff don’t realize they’re ill until they’re at school? Or what if they know beforehand and come in anyway? You’re left with a facility that needs to be cleaned.
Even with a healthy student population and faculty, your school facility needs regular cleaning. Doing so keeps everyone in your facility better protected from illnesses. So what are the best school cleaning practices? And what school cleaning and disinfecting recommendations should you follow? Below, you’ll find tips to add to your school cleaning and disinfecting considerations to make a cleaner environment for everyone at your facility.
Understand the Differences Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing
Before you learn about classroom cleaning tips for schools, you need to understand the differences between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. While we all often use those terms interchangeably, they refer to different levels of cleanliness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the differences between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing are as follows:
- Cleaning: This process uses soap and water — or a detergent and water — to physically remove dirt, impurities and germs. While it doesn’t kill germs, it does lower their numbers and reduce the risk of spreading.
- Disinfecting: Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on objects and surfaces. Disinfecting doesn’t always remove dirt from a surface, but it does kill germs and lowers the risk of them spreading.
- Sanitizing: This process works with both cleaning or disinfecting practices. It reduces the number of germs on a surface to what public health standards deem to be safe.
Promote Personal Hygiene Among Students and Faculty
The best practices for school facility cleaning start with the students’ and faculty’s hygiene. While you cannot control all the personal hygiene habits of students and staff, such as showering and laundering clothes, you can help manage personal cleanliness in school. Promote these ways to help reduce the spread of germs and keep your school clean:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash hands frequently, especially after sneezing, after coughing and before and after eating.
- Sneeze or cough into the elbow when tissues aren’t available.
- Avoid sharing food, drinks or eating utensils.
- Keep cuts or scrapes clean and covered with bandages until they heal.
- Avoid sharing gym clothing or towels.
- Avoid coming to school if you feel ill.
- Maintain an appropriate social distance of 6 feet during the time of COVID-19.
- Wear a CDC-recommended mask when required during the time of COVID-19.
Along with those rules and recommendations for students and staff, you can take additional measures. Promote personal hygiene in your school by providing:
- Tissues in classrooms — you can also encourage students and faculty to bring their own.
- Hand sanitizer stations for students and staff to use in addition to washing their hands.
- Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- CDC-recommended masks during the time of COVID-19.
- Thermometers to monitor temperatures throughout the day during the time of COVID-19.
Use in-class lessons to promote personal hygiene or put up informative displays throughout your facility. Consider signs in bathrooms that encourage students and staff to wash their hands. Washing your hands is one of the most essential steps to maintaining an environment with fewer germs. The correlation between cleaning and hygiene in schools is clear, especially considering that hand-washing education can help reduce respiratory illnesses by 16% to 21%. It can also decrease school children’s absences due to gastrointestinal illnesses by 29% to 57%.
Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces Throughout the Day
In addition to promoting personal hygiene in schools, you’ll also want to attend to frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. Staff should use cleaners registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Green cleaning products will still disinfect or clean while keeping your school, students and staff healthy.
Based on school cleaning and disinfecting recommendations from the CDC, daily cleaning is necessary for frequently touched items. You may also create cleaning and disinfecting protocols for your school that promote frequent cleaning throughout the day. Have staff focus on touchpoints that students and faculty interact with often, such as:
- Doorknobs and handles.
- Door surfaces.
- Light switches.
- Computer keyboards, monitors and mice.
- Desks and tables.
- Toys for younger age groups.
- Hands-on learning devices.
- Soap and paper towel dispensers, if they aren’t automatic.
- Faucets, if they aren’t automatic.
- Water fountains.
- Vending machines.
- Counters and appliances in break rooms or cafeterias.
- Stairway railings.
Using cleaning and disinfecting guidance for schools, you could encourage students to clean their desks after use. This works for older students in a school setting where they switch classrooms throughout the day. You may provide disinfecting wipes and instruct teachers to set aside a few minutes at the end of class for students to wipe down their desks and chairs. If students are younger, you may have teachers or staff wipe down the desks between classes.
Conduct Thorough Daily Cleaning for All Surfaces
Incorporate daily cleaning for all surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants into your school cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Daily cleanings are essential because the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. During that time, the virus can potentially infect others. Daily cleaning helps combat those viruses and germs. It also makes it easier to clean instead of letting dust and dirt build up on surfaces.
As you explain how to clean and disinfect your school, instruct your staff to follow directions on cleaning and disinfecting products. That practice promotes safe and effective use and helps ensure the product works as intended. Cleaning chemicals may have a recommended contact time, which is how long a product should sit on a surface to kill or remove germs.
During this daily cleaning, have your staff focus on all surfaces. Emphasize touchpoints they have cleaned throughout the day, so they can disinfect these again. You should also add floors, windows and stairs to this cleaning list. Don’t forget about areas that get more exposure to dirt, grime and germs, like:
- Locker rooms.
- Nurse’s offices.
These school cleaning and disinfecting considerations are easiest to perform before or after hours. While cleaning staff should take care of emergencies as they arise, it will be easier to clean inside classrooms once students are gone for the day. After hours, personnel can also clean floors thoroughly without concern of students slipping.
Hire professionals to clean and disinfect your school the proper way. Following cleaning and disinfecting guidance for schools is easier when you work with a cleaning company. Professional janitorial staff will bring:
- Experience: Janitorial professionals have been in the business for years. They’ll know the best cleaners and practices to use to keep surfaces clean yet undamaged.
- Versatility: Professionals have experience across an array of industries, and that makes them versatile. They can go from cleaning a classroom to a gym to a laboratory and all the areas in between.
- Convenience: A professional cleaning company will staff your facility throughout the day to meet your needs. You can trust the professionals to take care of your school while you worry about your other duties.
- Proper PPE: Fully trained janitorial professionals will be provided with personal protective equipment to protect themselves and everyone in the facility.
- Up to date technologies and products: A professional cleaning company will constantly add the most up to date equipment and products to be more effective and efficient in providing a safe and healthy environment at school.
When you take care to clean your facility, especially with professionals, you help keep your students and staff healthy. In turn, that could reduce the number of absences you see throughout the year. It also shows off your school in the best way, making it clean and beautiful for visitors.
Hire Shine Facility Services to Clean and Disinfect Your School Facility
If you need help cleaning your school, we at Shine Facility Services will give you high-quality and customized janitorial solutions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our experienced and specialty-trained team will bring the best school facility cleaning practices to you, including:
- Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayer
- EPA-Registered 1-minute kill time of COVID-19 disinfectant
- EPA-Registered COVID-19 day protective seal
We’ll talk with you to outline our tasks and discuss the time it will take to clean your school. Whether you need green carpet cleaning, hard floor care, eco-friendly cleaning or disinfecting and deep cleaning throughout your facility, we’re happy to help.
Contact us at 415-400-5671 to request a quote and learn more about our janitorial services in the Bay Area.
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