It is logical that the cleaner a school is, the healthier its students will be; harmful microbes thrive on frequently touched surfaces like dirty desks and doorknobs. As a result, poorly maintained schools lead to more sick students staying home, putting districts at risk of losing attendance-based state and federal funding. Studies have also shown something less obvious: Students in cleaner schools perform better academically.
Essential Tools and Tactics
With funding, student health and educational performance at stake, school administrators must understand the importance of a comprehensive cleaning program. Equipped with the following best practices and solutions, janitorial staff can lay the foundation of a successful school year.
Purchasing products that improve hygiene and are well-suited to clean specific areas within a school can enhance the institution’s image and support the well-being of students and staff.
- Stocking hand hygiene essentials. Common infections are spread by hands in 80% of cases. Naturally, then, hand hygiene is a proper place to start on the path toward a cleaner, healthier school. Dispensers with touch-free settings give students access to hand sanitizer and soap without spreading germs onto another surface. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most effective hand sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol, and users should rub their hands together for at least 20 seconds.
- Disinfecting the dirtiest spots. Restrooms, locker rooms and showers require extra attention to eradicate bacteria and fungi. Look for non-acid disinfectants that clean, deodorize and disinfect all in one step and can also be used on surfaces such as desks, chairs and light switches. Schools also need heavy-duty non-streak glass cleaners for a spot-free, germ-free shine on mirrors, windows and stainless-steel surfaces.
- Cleaning the court. Students walk on gymnasium floors daily, causing scuffs and tracking in dirt. Ensure wood finishes are long-lasting and maintained with diamond pads that simultaneously clean and polish to brilliantly shine all year.
Schools can also benefit from solutions that support sustainability, such as super-concentrated, high-performance cleaners that cost pennies per day as well as certified green products. Today there are products and procedures certified by GREENGUARD, Green Seal and ECOLOGO®. Incorporating sustainable solutions not only positions a school as an environmental leader but supports indoor air quality and overall health and safety.
Making Hygiene a Habit
Just as it is wasteful to overuse cleaning chemicals, it is careless to purchase quality products without putting them to regular use. Facilities managers and head custodians must make sure their staff members are all on the same page, working together as a cohesive cleaning unit.
To accomplish this, there must be a visible, reliable schedule for cleaning all parts of the campus. Leaders should train staff, not only on how and when to perform their duties, but on why doing so correctly is critical for the school. To supplement training, online resources can help employees stay informed on best practices in their day-to-day cleaning and provide guidance when questions arise. In cases where employee performance is not up to standards, management should conduct retraining to close learning gaps and guarantee consistent results.
Cleaning to Support Learning
From the gym to the classroom to the locker room, a cleaning and hygiene program supports a school in numerous ways. To avoid hindering student learning, encouraging the spread of germs and losing funding, schools must prioritize regular cleaning and disinfection. By concentrating on the strategies laid out above, schools can foster healthy, stimulating learning environments and strengthen the bottom line.
Diversey is a proud sponsor of Healthy Schools Campaign’s (HSC) Green Clean Schools program. We have also developed a free Back-to-school Toolkit to help your school make cleaning more effective and efficient. Download it here or reach out to us at https://diversey.com/en/contact-us to learn more about essentials for your educational facility.