Quick Guide: Keeping Schools Open

Getting kids back to school has become a growing imperative. As the number of cases of COVID-19 currently appears to be on the decline and the number of people getting vaccinated is increasing, calls from parents, educators, and students to reopen schools are becoming more urgent. Getting kids back to school is now one of the country’s top priorities.

However, even though the outlook is improving, we must remember that at this time, our number one way of getting kids in school – and staying healthy – is through effective cleaning. We’ve discussed this before in previous blog posts, but here are a few more things we need to know about COVID and cleaning:

Make sure student desks are cleaned and disinfected daily.

Researchers have found that even before the virus, an assortment of unsavory pathogens, including Staphylococcus bacteria, viruses such as influenza, even norovirus, make a home on student desktops. What is more, they like it there and can survive for several days. The same is true of COVID. While estimates vary, it is now believed the pathogens that cause COVID-19 can live for several hours to several days on desks.

We need to make sure the cleaning professionals in your school clean and disinfect desks each visit. But that may not be enough. Consider teaching students to clean and disinfect their desks during the day. It’s a good learning experience and they are taking steps to protect their own health as well as that of their fellow classmates.

Five seconds is five seconds too long.

We just mentioned that pathogens that cause disease can live for several hours to several days on desks. This applies to other types of surfaces as well, including cooking areas in a school and tables where students and staff have breakfast or lunch.

Traditionally, it has been believed if a food item falls on a floor or a potentially contaminated surface, as long as it has been removed within three to five seconds, it’s fine and can still be consumed. This “five-second rule,” as it has been called, was coming into question even before COVID.  

But for now, consider it off the books. If a food item falls on the floor, a student desk, or a tabletop, it should be discarded. 

Use different disinfecting technologies.

Conventional cleaning in schools typically involves spray-and-wipe procedures. This is manually performed. However other technologies are available which we believe should be considered. 

We call these “different” technologies because they are not necessarily new; they just have not been used that frequently in schools.  

For instance, we are strong believers in electrostatic sprayers. These technologies mist large areas. In a classroom, for instance, that means the mist reaches many areas which are often overlooked or not even considered when cleaning manually. When it comes to fighting COVID, we cannot overlook anything.

Ultraviolet light towers are also a consideration. At Service Keepers, we are analyzing these systems, but at this point, we believe electrostatic sprayers provide more benefits, are safer to use than other methods, and certainly have shown to be effective.

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Service Keepers Maintenance, Inc. Woman Owned Business

Neal Berman

As President and CEO of SKM, Neal Berman has been in the industry since 1996. He brings a great wealth of expertise due to continuous training and involvement with educational organizations contributing to the janitorial industry. Neal’s leadership, vision, and management style provides guidance for the continued growth of Service Keepers Maintenance, Inc.