You’ve seen Australian schools endure costly shut-downs from COVID clusters. You’ve seen students and teachers struggling with the abrupt transition to virtual classrooms. You’ve seen maintenance teams overwhelmed by all the extra cleaning.
2020 was a tough year.
2021 is shaping up to be much better, with vaccines rolling out and restrictions easing. Surely now you can afford to relax your heightened cleaning measures…
But what if you don’t stop the extra cleaning?
What if your eventual payoff is far more than your current investment of time and money?
In this article, you’ll get:
- Three reasons your hygiene focus is still critical, and
- Five steps to maximize results from your hygiene budget
3 Reasons Why School Cleaning Supplies Are Still Essential
Increased school cleaning is good for your finances, your reputation, and your future viability. Here are three reasons that stand out right now.
1. COVID-19 is not over.
Despite the better outlook for the future, the pandemic isn’t over, and won’t be anytime soon.
In our recent webinar, Dr Rob Grenfell told us COVID-19 is never really going to go away. It will become seasonal, like the common cold and influenza.
He also said that outbreaks and lockdowns could continue for one or two more years, depending on the success of the vaccine.
An outbreak would still be harmful for your students, finances, and reputation.
It’s not time to relax just yet.
2. All infections are costly.
Heightened cleaning for COVID-19 has a significant side benefit. There are fewer student infections overall!
Before 2020, anything from measles to ringworm would move through schools yearly.
School nurses would rush to shut down the contagion (at an average of $48.12 an hour). This cost the education sector millions per year.
Then came the pandemic, and increased infection control.
You cut infection rates with extra cleaning and better supplies.
Why would you want to let those infections rise again?
3. Hygiene is in the public view.
Parents determine the future of your school when they decide where their child studies.
And parents now care deeply about hygiene.
We recently interviewed a large college in coastal New South Wales, who told us that hygiene now shapes their reputation.
Clean environments are hard to maintain in schools. There’s a lot to cover, with your big rooms, large surface areas and diverse student needs.
But it’s worth the effort.
A lack of cleanliness will scare away the best prospective students and leave your finances less secure.
Cleaning is crucial to your reputation and your business’ future.
5 Steps for Affordable School Hygiene
You don’t need a billion-dollar hygiene budget for a clean, safe school. Great hygiene systems can be affordable if you make the most of what you have. With that in mind, here are five areas to improve for better hygiene results.
- Hand Washing Systems
Persuading students to keep their hands clean isn’t the easiest. Sometimes, you’d be tempted to let a couple of difficult kids go… except in a pandemic.
To make sure the children are keeping safe, start by looking at your soap system.
An effective soap system ticks three boxes:
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are the dispensers easy and fast to use?
- Are dispensers reliable or prone to breakdown?
- Does the soap have a good ‘after-feel’? (Sticky residue can discourage usage)
- Is the system a sealed cartridge system? (Bulk fill dispensers can harbour germs)
- Drying Systems
The next step after washing is drying. Make sure your students’ hands are completely dry, to reduce the chance of regaining and spreading pathogens.
- Is there an effective hand drying method? (Paper towel is more effective than air drying)
- Are the dispensers easy and fast to use?
- Are dispensers reliable or prone to breakage?
- Touch Points
The virus causing COVID-19 can last up to 14 days on the right surface, in the right conditions. Other infectious microbes can last even longer. This increases the risk that infections will spread through the student body.
Make sure your touch points are clean to prevent this:
- Are high traffic touch points cleaned daily with a certified COVID-killing sanitiser?
- Are any unnecessary touch points eliminated? Suggestions include:
- Leaving doors open during the day
- Using foot pedal operated bin lids
Your students will be aware of the disruption the pandemic has caused. But do they know their critical role in reducing illness in your campus?
- Do students understand the danger of infectious diseases?
- Do students understand how disease spreads?
- Do students understand that hand washing is more effective than sanitising?
- Is sanitising only encouraged where a sink & soap is not available?
- Are sanitisers removed from hand washing areas to encourage handwashing with soap?
- Are there visual hygiene guides and signage on toilet doors and above sinks?
- Traffic Control
Face-to-face interactions are highly likely to spread several infectious diseases, including COVID-19. If you are aware of an infection, make sure the following areas are covered:
- Are specific washrooms, classrooms and shared areas limited to separate classes?
- Are room usage times staggered to avoid overload?
- Are there social distancing guides on your floors?
The simple space of school hygiene can be optimised for better results on the same budget, costing you less in:
- Reactive infection control, and
- Future enrolments.