As a busy and vibrant environment, schools must be maintained to a high standard to keep all students and staff happy and healthy. Often acting as a hotbed for spreading bacteria, schools need to make sure that they have everything they need to maintain a healthy classroom and are implementing the correct practices.
All school premises should be clean and well ventilated, with infection control a key priority for cleaning staff, teachers and pupils alike. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene standards are even more imperative.
We understand that school days are demanding; even more so amid a pandemic, so we’ve created a FREE downloadable and printable cleaning schedule and supplies list for your school. By following its guidelines, you will ensure your school is safe and COVID-secure.
School bacteria hotspots
Did you know that school canteen trays can carry around 33,800 bacteria per square inch, which astonishingly, is considerably more than a toilet seat which has approximately 3,200?
Seeking to find the most common school bacteria hotspots, the National Sanitation Foundation’s experiment produced some eye-watering findings.
Testing a variety of surfaces that children regularly come into contact with at school, they found the following surfaces to be particularly hazardous in terms of bacteria:
COVID-19 cleaning in schools
Equipped with knowledge about bacteria hotspots in schools, take the following steps to ensure your school is COVID-secure.
Increase your regular cleaning schedule
Speak to your cleaning staff to organise additional hours for cleaning. While deep cleans are only required when someone has symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19, you will need to enhance your regular cleaning schedule. To do this, emphasise the following bacteria hotspots:
- Frequently touched objects(see table above) should be cleaned at least twice a day, and between use by different groups.
- Rooms and communal areas (e.g. student common room; cafeteria)will require more frequent cleaning, particularly when different groups are coming and going.
- Aim to reduce clutter in corridors and walkways.
Focus on high-contact and communal areas
At the start and end of each day and in between uses, use disinfectants and bleach to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. The following checklist details the items and surfaces you should clean:
- Door and window handles
- Work surfaces (including desks and tables)
- Bathroom facilities (including taps and flush buttons)
- Remote controls
- Computer equipment (including keyboards and mouse devices)
- Classroom resources, such as books and games
- Light switches
- Reception desks
- Fingerprint scanners
- Communal kitchens or canteens (speak to your catering staff about whether they’ll be doing this)
Communal areas and shared resources
This checklist details the communal areas and shared resources that you should clean:
- Sports, art, and science equipment
- Outdoor playground equipment
- Hard toys (you should not have soft toys in school during coronavirus)
- Dining halls
- If it is not possible to clean equipment between groups, store the equipment for 48 hours (or 72 hours for plastics) between uses
Who can carry out a deep clean?
If an area is affected by COVID-19, you will need to carry out a deep clean. It is unlikely the school will have to close to do this; however, your local health protection team will need to conduct a risk assessment to check if it is necessary.
Remember, some of your cleaning staff may not feel equipped or comfortable to do a deep clean, and some unions advise against it. If you outsource, speak with your cleaning provider, or your cleaning team if it is in house. If your in-house team does not want to do a deep clean, talk to your local authority to find a specialist provider.
When carrying out a deep clean
Staff must wear disposable gloves and aprons and should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds once they remove them. For higher-level contamination (e.g. bodily fluid contamination), you will need to provide all cleaning staff with surgical masks or full-face visors.
Your local authority can confirm the above.
Cleaning staff should use one of the following cleaning products:
- A combined detergent/disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine.
- A household detergent followed by a disinfectant with the same dilution as above.
- If they use an alternative disinfectant, check that it is effective against enveloped viruses.
Waste disposal requirements
You will need a safe and secure place away from children where you can store waste from suspected COVID cases until the individual’s test results are known, and for at least 72 hours if they test positive.
If you do not have access to appropriate waste storage, arrange for a collection of category B infectious waste by either a specialist clinical waste contractor or your local waste collection authority.
The government provides extra funding for some cleaning costs that your existing budget fails to cover. These include:
- Expenses incurred for keeping your school open during the Easter and/or summer holidays.
- Deep cleaning your school due to a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus.
Bear in mind this funding does not cover your regular cleaning costs.
School sanitation initiatives
In addition to a cleaning schedule, it is reassuring to know that several sanitation initiatives are running in schools up and down the country. One of these is Eco-Schools, an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey through a simple framework, ensuring sustainability becomes a crucial part of school life. Together with their green supplier InnuScience – who promote the use of green products around children – the Eco-Schools initiative aims to extend the positive habits formed in schools into homes and communities.
Keep Britain Tidy is another green organisation that is currently running ‘Let’s Talk Rubbish’ – the largest ever school litter campaign. This initiative emphasises the harm caused by dropping litter, and the positive effects for the society and the environment if we instead deposit litter into bins.
Download our cleaning and supplies template made specifically for schools and never run short of supplies again.