The season for the spread of flu in schools is upon us, and students and staff members at schools across the country are at a high risk for infection. Many children are less than diligent about their hygiene, and their classmates and teachers will pay the price. And, don’t forget that they will bring the germs home with them, affecting their families and friends as well. An outbreak at a school will have repercussions throughout the community. However, a cleaning company can help you hold the germs at bay with a thorough and professional cleaning and disinfection of the entire school.
Of course, viruses are inevitable. Influenza is a particularly dangerous and highly contagious illness caused by different strains of influenza virus, affecting between three and five million people every year. It can be mild, with few symptoms, or it can be severe, sometimes resulting in death. And the common cold is, as its name proclaims, the most common illness experienced by humans. It’s caused by one of 200+ viruses, and results in a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing.
Surprising Effects of Sickness
The danger to students’ and teachers’ health and wellbeing is one problem with the spread of colds and flu in schools, but another issue is the economic and social toll. The presence of the common cold and the flu in schools are the most common reasons that students and teachers are absent; the viruses affect millions of people each year. Absenteeism is harmful to students’ learning, and teacher sick days impact not only the students in their class but the school’s bottom line; substitute teachers must be paid for every day they miss. Additionally, a child’s sick day often results in a parent missing a day of work as well.
Slow the Spread of the Flu in Schools
Fortunately, the spread of these viruses isn’t inevitable; it can be slowed with good hygiene as well as careful cleaning practices. However, hygiene is something missing from many schools. According to one study, a mere 58% of female and 48% of male middle and high school students actually stop to wash their hands after a visit to the restroom. (Even more terrifying, just 33% of girls and 8% of boys use soap!)
Educating students about the importance of hand washing is vital to prevent flu in schools, but it’s hard to control what the kids are doing. Another way to stop the viruses in their tracks is to engage in a thorough, professional cleaning and disinfection of the frequently touched, or “high touch” surfaces in the school. These include doorknobs, desks, countertops, and faucet handles—all places that every student and teacher touch throughout the course of the day.
Best Practices for Cleaning at School
- Clean Routinely — Cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant can help stop the spread of cold and flu viruses as well as remove dirt and soil. Schedule a regular cleaning to be sure that the whole school is free of germs. Remember, a virus can live on a surface for up to 48 hours, possibly infecting anyone who touches it and making them ill. A professional cleaning company could ensure that all of your school’s surfaces are germ-free, saving your students from the spread of flu in schools.
- Disinfect High Touch Areas Daily — Sanitizing all of the places that are touched frequently throughout the day is an important part of protecting students and teachers from flu in schools. Don’t forget to hit the keyboards, faucets, phones, desks, countertops, and doorknobs as well as the bathroom sinks, faucets, and doors. Additionally, you should be disinfecting areas like the cafeteria (tables, trays, and chairs) and athletic areas (equipment, lockers, toilets, and showers). A professional cleaning service can help you create a plan of attack so that you will avoid a flu outbreak in your school.
- Disinfect Properly — Simply using a standard cleaning product might not be sufficient to kill germs, particularly the more stubborn viruses such as influenza A. Most disinfectants do one job – disinfect. They are not mean to clean and disinfect, although new products with dual duty are starting to come into the market.The first step is to clean the surface; the second step is to disinfect. Do an initial cleaning with your general cleaning product, following the instructions as written on the packaging. To be sure that you’ve eliminated these dangerous viruses, repeat the process with an EPA-registered disinfectant. Professional cleaners will have easy access to appropriately strong disinfecting cleaners, and they’ll have the ability to use them safely.
- Safely Use Cleaning Products — Disinfecting cleaners are effective, but if they’re not used properly, they can be dangerous. Many of these products require the use of safety equipment, such as eye protection and gloves. Additionally, it’s hazardous to mix cleaners and disinfectants—it can result in serious injury if not death. Rather than leaving these potentially dangerous chemicals to the hands of untrained workers, it’s far safer to utilize the services of a cleaning company; a qualified cleaning service is trained to handle these chemicals safely, and they will ensure that your surfaces are germ-free.
Commercial cleaning companies with experience cleaning schools have the training and the knowledge to use the potentially hazardous chemicals safely and properly. When it comes to the safety of the students and staff of your school, it’s no time to cut corners for budgetary purposes. Weigh the cost of absentee staff and students versus the cost of a professional cleaning service, and you’ll see that it’s in your best interest to hire a cleaning company to disinfect and sanitize your school on a regular basis.