In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many higher education facilities are being prepared for a return to full-time, in-person classes after a period of virtual or hybrid learning. Now is the perfect time for educational facility managers to reconsider classroom cleaning and disinfecting routines to help students, faculty, and staff feel safe coming together once more.
What Is the Difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cleaning removes germs and other debris from surfaces. It does not always kill germs, but it lowers the number of germs on a surface, thus lowering the risk of infection upon contact.
Disinfecting, on the other hand, kills germs without necessarily removing them from a surface. It is a great follow-up to a standard cleaning procedure to eliminate remaining germs. Make sure that cleaning staff follow instructions on product labels — many disinfectant sprays need to soak for several minutes on a surface before being wiped off to ensure effectiveness.
Sanitization is an umbrella term encompassing both cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning and disinfecting are best used together. Using both techniques ensures that surfaces used in the classroom have the lowest chance of spreading infection. Facility managers should make a plan for fomites to be sanitized frequently.
What Is a Fomite, and Why Is It Important?
A “fomite” is an object that, if contaminated, can spread infectious material from person to person. The concept is important to bear in mind, as it is important to have as few fomites in the classroom setting as possible.
Any object that is passed from student to student could become contaminated from unwashed hands or water droplets from breathing. When shared objects are an unavoidable part of the classroom, they should be sanitized between uses. For example, each student that writes on a white board should use a separate marker, and used markers should be sanitized before use in future classes.
Back-to-School Cleaning Checklist
There are a few steps that educational facility managers should keep in mind while preparing educational facilities for in-person classes:
- Reinforce basic cleaning and disinfecting procedures with cleaning staff
- Brief faculty on fomites and how to avoid them in the classroom
- Make a plan for frequently sanitizing high-touch areas and objects that could become fomites
- Hire a school cleaning services company as needed
The best way to prevent disease transmission in an educational facility is to encourage a solid sanitization routine and a focus on avoiding fomites in the classroom setting. While this isn’t complicated, it does require the focus and diligence of all faculty, staff, and students. Coming back to in-person classes may be stressful at first, but if done right, it is a chance for the community to come together to keep each other safe.
Do you want to go the next level of back to school cleaning? Or do you need support with the additional cleaning necessary to prevent disease transmission in a post-pandemic world? Contact Pegasus Clean today for a quote on our school cleaning services.