It’s that time of year, schools are making their lists and checking them twice. A school cleaning checklist, that is, now that flu season has officially begun. Although people of all ages get the flu, school-aged children are a group with a high rate of illness, thanks to all the shared areas in the school setting. All that togetherness makes it even more important to practice good prevention, hygiene and cleaning for the place where kids spend 180 days a year.
The first thing schools can do to prevent the spread of flu in school is to encourage student families and staff to get a flu vaccine. Encouraging healthy behaviors such as staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often should also be communicated repeatedly to the entire school community. And there should always be a good supply of tissues, wipes, soap, and trash cans available throughout the school. When it comes to cleaning, we’ve compiled a list of ‘hot spots’ where germs are likely to lurk and should be on your flu season hit list.
School Cleaning Checklist
Cafeteria Tables – It’s no surprise cafeteria tables are some of the most germ-laden places in a school. Students cram in next to each other almost all-day coughing, wiping noses, sharing food, and unfortunately, not always washing hands. Cafeteria tables and chairs should get a daily disinfecting.
Drinking Fountains – The drinking fountain is a popular stop on many kids’ daily commute, but it is also an easy place for highly contagious viruses to spread, especially if they spit or get their mouths to close to the water source. If possible, install a water fountain that has a no-touch spigot for filling water bottles and allow kids to carry water bottles with them. Regardless, all surfaces of a drinking fountain should be cleaned and sanitized daily.
Desks, Doorknobs, Keyboards, and More – Virtually all surfaces in schools are shared — between hundreds of people — which means no surface is immune when it comes to harboring germs. Just because a surface doesn’t look dirty doesn’t mean it isn’t. A daily wipe down with a sanitizing product can cut down on flu transmission from those high-touch areas.
Handrails – This is one of those areas that is easy to miss since folks barely even notice as they absent-mindedly rest their hands on it or grab hold as they climb up and down the stairs, but cleaning handrails should not be overlooked.
Restrooms – This is a no-brainer; however, it is important to make sure all areas of the restrooms are getting a complete cleaning. In public restrooms, faucet handles and floors are the germiest places — not the toilet! A commercial cleaning company is best equipped to make sure this high-profile area, that houses all manner of germs and microbes, gets the thorough cleaning and sanitizing it needs.
Gymnasium/Locker Room/Weight Room – These areas may not get the same foot traffic on a daily basis as a classroom or restroom, but with sweat, bodily fluids, and sometimes poor ventilation in play, these recreational use areas can harbor a flu-causing virus that is easy to pick up. Make sure you have a cleaning schedule that includes cleaning and sanitizing all floors and surfaces.
Sports Equipment – Many people are used to wiping down weights and fitness equipment after each use — although many don’t — but equipment like sticks, helmets, balls and pads are often overlooked. When is the last time your school’s wrestling mats were thoroughly sanitized? Wrestling mats are the most likely cause of staph and MRSA infections in schools, but cleaning is usually left up to individual coaches or an athletic department. Make sure proper cleaning and sanitizing expectations are set and followed.
School Buses – Although not technically in the school, buses transport more than children. The seat surfaces, windows and handrails are all germ carriers that could land students on the sick list. Do what you can to hold the school transportation department accountable for keeping school buses clean and sanitized.
At Enviro-Master, we clean every type of surface and offer a Sani-Guard service that is 99.999 percent effective in killing germs — no matter where they lurk. Call 1-833-GERMPROS for a free consultation today!