Even with passionate, devoted teachers and attentive, curious students, your school isn’t going to be effective if it isn’t clean. Although regularly cleaning and disinfecting seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by the number of schools that don’t prioritize cleanliness.
Dirty schools harbor millions of germs, leading to sick students, increased absences, and frustrated teachers. Read on to learn all about the importance of cleanliness in school and what you can do to get a jumpstart on the flu season!
Education needs to be the first step for a cleaner school – both for students and teachers. Create a culture of cleanliness so that everyone has a sense of personal responsibility.
This is because even when you demonstrate proper handwashing, students and even teachers may still feel as if the extra time is unnecessary. By educating students on how easily germs spread, they’ll be more motivated to practice good hygiene.
Tri-County Healthcare provides a few important facts about germs:
- Germs can survive for up to three hours on hands
- Hands spread 1,000 more germs when they are damp versus when they’re dry
- 80 percent of germs that spread illnesses come from hands
- One germ can generate into 8 million each day
Everyone has busy lives, but with education and even a few important facts about germs, students and teachers will think twice before they skip the sink.
2. Hand Washing
According to the CDC, here is the best way for everyone to wash their hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water
- Lather your hands with soap, making sure to get beneath the fingernails and between fingers
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds – you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice to keep track
- Rinse hands under clean, running water
- Dry with a clean towel or air dry
Unlike popular belief, the temperature of the water doesn’t matter when it comes to eliminating germs. Plain soap also works just as effectively as “antibacterial” soaps that contain triclosan.
The surfactants in soap and the scrubbing motions have the most impact. You’re essentially lifting germs off the skin and washing them down the drain.
Consider this when teaching younger children the necessity of washing their hands – the visual can be more compelling!
Hand sanitizers are good to use if you don’t have soap and water readily available, though while they’ll reduce the number of germs, they won’t eliminate them. Make sure that the sanitizers you use in your school have at least 60% alcohol.
3. Maintaining Cleanliness
Although the flu virus can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, thankfully standard disinfection and cleaning is all you need. Consider all the surfaces that are touched and used regularly, such as:
- Faucet handles
- Drinking fountains
Keep antibacterial wipes, tissues, trash cans, and EPA-registered disinfectants easily available for all of your staff. Breaking the school into sections depending on activity type is also a great way to determine the amount of cleaning and disinfecting necessary.
For instance, bathrooms, classrooms, or break rooms that are used every day will need a daily cleaning plan versus rooms that don’t get as much foot traffic. Once you have a plan in place, this will also help you determine the number of cleaning staff you need.
When everyone is educated and understands that they need to have personal responsibility for reducing the spread of germs, they’ll be more likely to keep their environment clean. The cleaning staff shouldn’t be the only people looking out for the cleanliness of the school and the wellbeing of students.
4. Encourage Healthy Habits
Students and staff need to be reminded of healthy habits, especially when flu season strikes. Remind teachers to let students and parents know that they should stay home for at least 24 hours if they have a cold or flu, as that’s the time when it’s most contagious.
When students are sick, teachers need to be accommodating when it comes to missed assignments and test retakes. If a student needs to stay longer at home, consider emailing assignments or asking a student to deliver notes so that they don’t get too behind.
Besides handwashing, everyone needs to be reminded to sneeze into the crook of their elbow or a tissue. Just like with hand washing, along with this instruction their needs to be education on how fast germs can spread or multiply without these simple actions.
5. Hiring Cleaning Staff
Even if your school has a good track record of keeping environments clean and hands washed, hiring a cleaning staff will help keep up with regular maintenance. Moreover, they act as an extra buffer in case the students and staff aren’t keeping up.
Cleaning companies can also do an inspection of your school to come up with specific solutions that it needs. They can use environmentally safe cleaning supplies and practice effective methods of both cleaning your school and disinfecting at the same time.
Creating a Culture of Cleanliness in School
By practicing cleanliness in school, you’re improving the lives of both your students and faculty. School should be wholly a place of learning, but that becomes less possible if students are trying to focus on a noticeably dirty environment, spreading germs, and making other students sick.
Ready to create a healthy, clean school? Contact us today to learn all about our comprehensive cleaning services!