Back to school season is nearly here. Though summer project cleaning may have just ended, school cleaning staffs now have to make classrooms shine before students return. Dirty schools lead to sick students. Every year, nearly 22 million school days are lost to the common cold. By establishing a strong cleaning program, schools can create a cleaner, healthier learning environment for students, teachers, and staff. Keep reading for 5 back to school cleaning tips.
1. Create a System for Success
Set your staff up for success by establishing a workable system. Make sure your custodial staff has checklists for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks so no area is neglected. Additionally, determine how you want to staff and workload your team. With the constant threat of budget cuts, school cleaning programs are often looking for ways to become more efficient. Many schools have seen success by implementing a version of team cleaning. Ensure both new and returning cleaners have received proper training on all cleaning processes and cleaning machines.
Set your staff up for success.
2. Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces & High-Risk Areas
Schools are filled with bacterial hot spots. Identify and disinfect these high-touch surfaces and high-risk areas on a daily basis.
- Water fountains
- Cafeteria trays and plates
- Computer keyboards
- Door handles
- Locker rooms
- Nurses’ offices
3. Follow a Two-Step Process
To protect the health of all school occupants, most surfaces must be both cleaned and disinfected through a two-step process of cleaning. Cleaning is the first step, and is defined by the CDC as the removal of unwanted matter. Cleaning is less about killing germs and more about removing soil and contaminants. For the first step of cleaning, a low-toxicity sodium hydroxide cleaning solution applied with friction will dislodge soils and other unwanted matter, preparing the surface for the next step, disinfection. Step two, disinfecting, is designed to kill dangerous pathogens such as norovirus, MRSA, and influenza. A hypochlorous acid solution is a safe and effective way to remove harmful pathogens after cleaning. Clean and disinfect the above high-risk areas to ensure germs do not spread.
Enlist in a two-step process of cleaning.
4. Maintain Cleaning Equipment
Extend the life of your valuable cleaning equipment by practicing routine maintenance. Examine vacuums or cleaning machines after each use, and regularly change your vacuum filter bag. Clean all mop heads, buckets, rags, and brooms after each use. Establish a storage system that is easy-to-use and intuitive for your staff so that equipment is stored properly after every use. Put away equipment in a way that is ready for the next day’s use. This routine maintenance will not only protect your equipment, it will help save time and ensue your staff is ready for each shift.
5. Enlist Staff and Student Help
School janitors have one of the most difficult and thankless jobs, but enlisting students and staff with a few tasks can take a bit of the workload off their plate. Ask teachers to eliminate clutter to make it easier for custodial staff to navigate classrooms. Discourage students from eating and drinking in classrooms to reduce spills and stains. Foster a culture of respect among students and custodians. Get students to clean up after themselves in classrooms and cafeterias so they have a greater understanding of the importance of a clean school environment.
Enlist students and staff to help to make school janitor’s jobs easier.
By implementing a few easy protocols, your school can establish a clean, healthy learning environment for the entire year.