In this strangest of years, there’s a day marked in everyone’s calendar: when young people go back to school. With the start of a new academic year for schools in England and Wales, there are a whole host of new procedures to keep everyone safe. From separate bubbles for classes or year groups to social distancing in corridors, school authorities are working hard to limit Covid-19 risks. Of course, a key element of these enhanced procedures will be regular deep cleaning and decontamination. In this blog, we’re going to look at how we can be part of that process.
Let’s do the maths
Today more than ever, schools are a key part of the fabric of the country. In England and Wales, there are currently some 25,900 schools, including 2,350 independent schools, 1,085 special schools and 350 pupil referral units. In terms of educational level, around 80% of this total are primary schools and 20% are secondary schools. Together, these schools educate a massive 9.3 million young people and employ upwards of a million teaching and support staff.
We work with local authorities, academy chains and private education institutions. Keeping all the facilities at these schools clean is quite a job. Across all these educational institutions, we calculate there are over 12 million desks and chairs to keep clean in classrooms and lecture halls. There are a smaller number of tables, chairs and benches in dining halls across the sector, but these still run into the millions. And don’t get us started on the number of toilets and sinks in all those washrooms too. Whether it’s a regular janitorial cleaning programme, or a first response to an emergency Covid-19 cleaning assignment, we’re here to keep places of education clean.
Keeping school cleaning practical
As specialist cleaners who are no strangers to the education sector, we take a lot of important considerations into account. Keeping schools clean and presentable means having fully vetted and accredited staff. We deploy staff members who are available to undertake regular scheduled cleaning outside school hours.
In the light of Covid-19, our focus is strictly on infection control. Our team deploys a simple yet thorough methodology of ‘test, clean, disinfect and test again’. We swab and test a number of high-touch areas for traces of pathogen. The results of testing will determine what cleaning method needs to be applied prior to colleagues returning to work. If testing comes back negative, this could be a spring-clean approach, wiping down and sanitising all surfaces and high-touch areas.
Alternatively, if there are any residual pathogens, it may require a more thorough deep clean and decontamination. We’ll check and prepare sanitising equipment following industry standards and will display warning signs near the area to be disinfected. The team will only enter a room once equipped with the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as a minimum Hazmat Cat 3 suit, A1P2 mask & 2 pairs disposable gloves.
First response cleaning in a crisis
It’s vital for schools to put in place an infection control protocol immediately if a confirmed Covid-19 case is identified. As part of this protocol, we recommend they have us on call as a trusted resource to perform a suitable deep clean and decontamination of the areas potentially infected. React are available 24/7/365 to respond to such incidents nationwide. We can put in place a pre-agreed response process.
We respond with the latest technology for fighting this challenge. We initially test an area to understand the levels of exposure to pathogens. We then clean and disinfect with the most appropriate equipment and chemicals for the property. Finally, we test again to be certain the pathogen has been inactivated and removed. We’ll deploy the correct method and equipment for each specific task. For most schools, our preferred method would likely be Ultra Low Volume ‘fogging’ (ULV). But we can use electrostatic spraying, whole room misting, and UVC decontamination if that’s an appropriate course for those particular facilities.
Whatever and wherever the job, schools can rely on us to keep their students and staff safe. As well as surfaces, our air hygiene and compliance services will keep their indoor learning environments clean too. At the start of a new academic year, schools should work us into their timetables to keep things clean throughout the academic year. #SchoolCleaning #Education #BackToSchool #CovidCleaning #SpecialistCleaning #REAT
To find out more about our school cleaning services, from regular contracts to first response Covid-19 cleaning, contact one of the team today.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of React Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.