BACK-TO-SCHOOL: Keeping Educational Facilities Healthy

Educational facilities operate for youths across all ages, from toddlers and children in elementary school, to the teenagers and young adults in high school and university. There are many objectives when implementing a cleaning program in educational facilities such as improving the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for all students, staff and any other persons that use the space. Other goals include reducing the rates of absenteeism from infection or viruses that are spread within an educational facility, and to increase the lifespan of the facility for as long as possible. One very easy way to complete these objectives is to follow a high-efficiency cleaning program that improves health and wellness, especially in areas of schools that are known pain-points and require frequent cleaning.

Problem Areas

Problem areas in cleaning educational facilities are some of the more difficult areas to clean, these include white boards, graffiti, lockers, washrooms and flooring, gym areas, and dumpster/waste areas. These areas that are subject to a high level of traffic have higher chances of becoming dirty than other areas. Problem areas should be cleaned thoroughly and regularly with non-hazardous cleaning agents that will not harm student health.

Green Cleaning

It is also important to consider environmental impacts of cleaning chemicals and all precautions should be taken to reduce the ecological footprint of the school. Any cleaning chemicals being used should not have adverse effects on students or the environment. It is estimated that 25%of the chemicals used in traditional cleaning products are toxic which can lead to more problems in the future; such as stunting a child’s growth and developing body. Since students spend so much time in education facilities, the harmful effects of toxic chemicals is multiplied and is extremely dangerous. Densely packed rooms and buildings are a breeding ground for germs, choosing environmentally preferable solutions for your cleaning needs eradicate germs while contributing to a healthy environment.

Indoor Air Quality

Buildings with poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) have been found to have a wider range of health problems than ones with higher IAQ. Headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, sinus congestions as well as other physical symptoms can all be found in environments with poor air quality. Although these physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always responsible. Frequently, a combination of factors is to blame, though improving IAQ will still lessen the amount of factors introduced by the environment. Certain cleaning and disinfecting processes, including wiping down walls and ceilings, frequently using room air deodorizers and fumigating, should not be frequent. These processes can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and skin; aggravate asthma; and cause other serious side effects for students and staff. Implementing a safe and healthy routine cleaning and maintenance schedule can help avoid many indoor air quality problems.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Schools should take the time to go through a deep cleaning program. To begin, it should be made clear what the difference is between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes visible soil, dirt, stains and other debris from surfaces, while disinfecting destroys viruses, bacteria, germs and other harmful microorganisms. Deep cleaning restrooms and other high risk areas should be focused on heavily.

Educational facilities are incredibly important not only for educating children, youth, and adults but also for ensuring that their health, safety, and well-being is considered and prioritized. Using green solutions to meet your cleaning needs can improve indoor air quality as well as increase the longevity of the facility. Implementing the right cleaning and disinfecting process during off-school periods are an essential way of minimizing toxicity levels for students and staff while optimizing solutions for an overall clean, healthy, and ultimately educational indoor environment.

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