Businesses aren’t the only organizations rethinking their approach to building cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As your school explores the safest options for returning to school this fall and into 2021, keep these school cleaning best practices in mind.
Routine School Cleaning Services Are No Longer Enough
The school cleaning program you followed this time last year may have been adequate to keep students, teachers, and staff safe prior to the pandemic, but that same approach is no longer enough. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced businesses and schools alike to reconsider their commercial cleaning services. Some schools in Minnesota have discovered this too late by returning prematurely without taking the proper precautions, while others have had to implement remote learning policies until the appropriate safety protocols can be implemented.
Whether your school has already returned to in-person classes or students are currently learning remotely, following these coronavirus cleaning best practices can help you prioritize the health of everyone at your school.
The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting
There’s a good chance that leading up to the COVID pandemic, your school’s cleaning program focused more on cleaning and less on disinfecting. While general cleaning services are still essential for maintaining a spotless, safe environment, disinfecting surfaces is now more critical than ever before.
Not sure what the difference is? Cleaning generally covers the most common tasks you think about when school cleaning, including sweeping, mopping, dusting, wiping down surfaces, cleaning whiteboards, and emptying trash. General cleaning is a great place to start since these tasks may lower the risk of spreading viruses. However, these cleaning tasks alone are not enough to properly disinfect your school of viruses like the coronavirus.
Disinfecting surfaces requires more attention and time than cleaning alone. Spraying a surface and immediately wiping it may clean it, but that’s rarely enough to thoroughly disinfect the surface. That’s because virtually all disinfectants must remain on a surface for a specified amount of time before it should be considered disinfected. Ensure your cleaning team follows the recommended disinfection times for each specific cleaning product they use.
Update Your School Cleaning Checklist
Along with understanding the increased importance of disinfecting high-touch areas instead of just cleaning them, you also need to reconsider which areas of the building may require cleaning that went previously ignored. These areas include outdoor areas like playgrounds, HVAC vents, and even PA equipment.
Taking a look at your school’s cleaning checklist from before the pandemic offers an easy place to start, but it’s also a good idea to build on that by walking around the school with your cleaning team to identify any areas that you may be missing. You may need to clean some areas that were previously ignored and disinfect touchpoints that were only wiped down in the past. If you don’t currently have a school cleaning checklist, now’s the time to develop one.
As you’re developing or updating your school cleaning checklist, schools need to be mindful of a crucial warning from the EPA:
Disinfectants should not be applied to items used by children, especially any items that children might put in their mouths as many disinfectants are toxic when swallowed.
Customize a school cleaning program to reduce the risk of spreading COVID at your school.
Coronavirus School Cleaning Checklist
As you’re developing or updating your school cleaning checklist during COVID, make sure you’re considering these core areas:
School Infrastructure Cleaning
- Hard floor cleaning
- Carpet cleaning
- High-touch point cleaning
- Light switches and plates
- Trash and recycling containers
- HVAC vents and filters
- Consider upgrading to higher performance air filtration systems designed to trap airborne viruses and particulates
- Locker doors and handles
- Hallway doors and handles
- Stairs and handrails
- Water fountains
Classroom and Office Cleaning
- Desk surfaces and drawers
- Seats and chairs
- Shared classroom equipment
- Shared storage areas
- Door and cabinet handles
- Telephones and touchscreens
- Keyboards and computers
- PA systems
- Napkin dispensers
- Vending machines
- Shared appliances
- Shared appliance handles
School Restroom Cleaning
- Doors and handles
- Faucets and sink basins
- Paper towel dispensers
- Soap dispensers
- Hand dryers
- Toilet paper dispensers
Want a full restroom cleaning checklist? Read our complete guide to school restroom cleaning.
Athletic Facility Cleaning
- Locker rooms
- Showers and bathrooms
- Wrestling mats
- Shared exercise equipment
- Scoreboard buttons
Cleaning Outdoor Areas
- Playground equipment
- Shared tables, benches, and chairs
- Door handles, doorbells, and access controls
- Stair railings
This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a consolidated overview to help you get started on the path to customizing a COVID school cleaning plan.
Partner With a Coronavirus Cleaning Company Focused on School Safety
Whether you need help optimizing your school’s cleaning program during the COVID pandemic or you need help developing a new cleaning plan from the ground up, the experts at Carlson Building Maintenance are here to help. Reach out to our experts today to schedule a free virtual cleaning consultation.
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